Participation Request Toolbox

Learning and Sharing

Gaining an understanding of the scope, scale, and focus of PRs.

View Learning and Sharing

Building Collaboration

Working together to achieve meaningful outcomes.

View Building Collaboration

Reflection and Feedback

Reviewing the outcome improvement process and assessing the difference it has made.

View Reflection and Feedback

Promotion and Marketing

Raising awareness of PRs and involving local people and groups.

View Promotion and Marketing

Participation Requests and Community Empowerment

The broad aim of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act is that communities can have more influence over local services and decisions. Participation Requests have been introduced under the Act as a way for community groups to be involved in and influence the decisions and services that affect communities and community life.

What Participation Requests Involve

Participation Requests are put forward by a community group who have identified an issue or concern that they want to influence or improve. The Participation Request is submitted as a written proposal to a relevant public service authority such as a local council, health board or a national agency such as Police Scotland.

If the Participation Request is accepted, the community group and public service authority will work together to address the issue through an ‘outcome improvement process’.

Toolbox Structure & Content

The Participation Request Toolbox contains 15 tool prototypes that have been co-designed by 12 Social Studios participants over the course of six workshops. In Social Studios three broad aspects of Participation Requests emerged as key areas for improvement: enhancing awareness, access, and support for communities who have an issue or concern that could be addressed through a Participation Request; strengthening successful partnerships amongst community groups and public service authorities through the outcome improvement process; and providing opportunities to reflect on and document the difference that Participation Requests can make. As such, the Toolbox puts forward a range of tools to address each of these objectives.

The tools are online resources to make Participation Requests more accessible at a national level, paper-based templates that collectively aim to support people and communities to drive their Participation Requests and outcome improvement processes, and a 3d board game to help community groups envisage how their Participation Request could play out
in practice.

How to use the Participation Request Toolbox

The Social Studios Participation Request Toolbox aims to enable community groups to effectively engage with Participation Requests and deliver outcomes that make a difference to their local areas. It has been co-designed with 12 people who have experience of developing Participation Requests and who have the ambition to enhance access, inclusion, ownership, and outcomes in democratic decision-making across Scotland.

We have developed a set of four icons that highlight the key purposes of each tool or collection of tools. The tool purpose icons correspond with points in the Participation Request process where each tool could be applied, and the tools are presented chronologically within the Toolbox.

Tool Purposes

Learning and Sharing: Gaining an understanding of the scope, scale, and focus of PRs
Building Collaboration: Working together to achieve meaningful outcomes
Reflection and Feedback: Reviewing the outcome improvement process and assessing the difference it has made.
Promotion and Marketing: Raising awareness of PRs and involving local people and groups

Due to each tool’s focus and recommended use time, we advise community groups and public service authorities to refer to the tool purpose icons and select the tools that align closely to their own specific circumstances and needs. For example, people and communities who are new to Participation Requests may choose to begin with Learning and Sharing tools, while those who are more experienced in local decision-making may find the Building Collaboration tools to be more useful. Individual tools and collections of tools can be explored in more depth and downloaded.

The tools are made up of online platforms, interactive templates and printable resources. Each one comes with guidelines and prompts to help you to use them. The dashed lines and boxes within the interactive templates can be typed into, to capture reflections, discussions, and plans, or they can be printed and annotated by hand.

If there is capacity, we recommend having an external facilitator to lead your group through some of the tools to support your discussion and idea development.

SCDC Resources

The Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) has developed resources and guidance for Participation Requests. We have included links to these throughout this toolbox as the resources complement our tools and provide further details and support around the Participation Request process. As part of the guidance they have created a Jargon Buster that explains the different terms used in a Participation Request an overview of the process in a variety of Accessible Materials including easy read, audio and large print.