Exploring deliberative approaches in the budget scrutiny process: experiences from the Scottish Parliament

7 February 2024

This IPEN seminar will showcase a budget scrutiny case study, presented by two speakers from the Scottish Parliament.

Speakers: Ailsa Burn-Murdoch (Senior Researcher at the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, SPICe); Leoncha Leavy (Community Participation Specialist, Participation and Communities Team, Scottish Parliament)

Chair: Professor Cristina Leston-Bandeira (University of Leeds and Chair of IPEN)

The Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee at the Scottish Parliament recently worked with a lived experience deliberative panel to explore the role of participation in the budget scrutiny process.

As part of this, a panel of 12 people worked together to come up with six questions for the Committee to ask the Minister for Equalities, Migration and Refugees as part of the Committee’s pre-budget scrutiny 2024-25. This work was also an opportunity to develop the Parliament’s practice approach, as part of a wider journey towards institutionalising deliberative democracy.

This proof-of-concept exercise aimed to help the Parliament understand the following:

  • Does the Budget lend itself to participatory and deliberative approaches, and can we use a lived experience deliberative panel to support budget scrutiny?
  • Does using this approach support cross-committee scrutiny?
  • What was the impact on participants, members and staff?
  • Did the approach lead to stronger commitments from the Scottish Government?
  • Did the approach strengthen scrutiny?
  • How significant is the role of research support in using deliberative methods to strengthen scrutiny?

Ailsa Burn-Murdoch provides research support on both financial scrutiny and citizen participation as a member of SPICe, the Scottish Parliament’s impartial research service. Leoncha Leavy is one of the Parliament’s Community Participation Specialists.

In this seminar, Ailsa and Leoncha will give a recap of the context and process, before discussing how the work progressed their understanding of the issues above, and what comes next in this aspect of the Scottish Parliament’s deliberative journey.

This online event is open to all members of the International Parliament Engagement Network.

Find out more about the network.

Image: Citizens panel giving formal evidence to the Equalities, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee. © Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament.