Develop yourself as a community development practitioner

Business Sectors (Suites): Community Development
Developed by: CLD Standards Council Scotland
Approved on: 30 Mar 2023


This standard concerns the way community development practitioners relate to others, being clear about their role, their contribution and their boundaries. It is about reflecting on their own day-to-day practice against the values, skills and knowledge of community development and seeking to improve their practice through continuing professional development.

This standard is relevant to all community development practitioners.

The community development standards are arranged in six key areas:

  1. Understand and practise community development
  2. Understand and engage with communities
  3. Group work and collective action
  4. Collaboration and cross-sectoral working
  5. Community learning for social change
  6. Governance and organisational development

     This standard is within Key Area One.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. use community development values in own practice
  2. maintain consistent behaviour, presentation and perspectives to develop effective working relationships in your area of responsibility
  3. prevent personal differences impacting negatively on own practice
  4. communicate what is realistically possible against expectations and own limitations to the community groups and organisations you work with
  5. develop strong, independent community groups in your area of responsibility
  6. develop plans of work that reflect community needs and priorities
  7. promote understanding of diversity and equality of opportunity in own organisation
  8. use feedback from communities or others to improve own practice
  9. maintain the currency of own skills, knowledge and understanding through learning opportunities
  10. review the impact of own practice on others in your area of responsibility

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the key purpose, values and process of community development in practice
  2. how to put community development process, methods and values into practice to support collective action and social change
  3. how to recognise the basis of your own power and influence while working with communities
  4. historical and contextual knowledge of national and local approaches and strategies for community development
  5. ways to use the Community Development National Occupational Standards while engaging with communities
  6. value based, solution focussed techniques for reflection and problem solving
  7. how to use feedback from community members, colleagues and partners
  8. reviews and improvement plans for own and organisational practice
  9. awareness of own limitations in giving legal advice and when to seek specialist support
  10. the significance of divided or conflicting loyalties and how this can affect working relationships
  11. how one's own values and beliefs can affect practice and relationships


Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge


Community development is underpinned by a set of values which distinguish it from other, sometimes related, activities in the community. These values are at the core of community development and underpin each of the standards. The values are;

  1. Social justice and equality
  2. Anti-discrimination
  3. Community empowerment
  4. Collective action
  5. Working and learning together

The following examples illustrate how each of the community development values might inform practice in this standard. These statements are not part of assessment requirements.

  1. commitment to social and environmental justice is demonstrated in practice
  2. practitioners use their power and influence to challenge discrimination
  3. day to day practice contributes to the empowerment of communities
  4. the skills, knowledge, experience and expertise of others is acknowledged and valued
  5. practitioners continually seek out ways to improve practice and increase knowledge to meet changing needs and challenges




Collective action

Working together with others to achieve a common aim.


The web of personal relationships, groups, networks, traditions and patterns of behaviour that can develop  among those who share a geographic area or identity or interest.

Community development practitioner

A person doing community development work as a paid worker, unpaid worker, group member, community activist or volunteer.

Community development process

Underpinned by the five key community development values. It is cyclical rather than linear, it takes place in a planned way but also progresses organically, and it involves all or some of the following stages.

  • Get to know the community, key people and organisations
  • Help communities to identify and prioritise their needs
  • Support collective approaches to bringing about change
  • Support sharing and learning from experience
  • Support the strengthening of groups
  • Support evaluation and reflection on practice for groups and self.

Community Engagement

A way to build and sustain relationships within and between communities, community groups or organisations, public sector, third sector and other agencies.  It provides a foundation for collaboration helping them to understand and collectively take action.

Community groups and organisations

Located within communities of geography, identity or interest. These groups are controlled by their users and are usually small and informal with no paid staff. They are often referred to collectively as the community sector.


A process where people gain control (eg confidence, knowledge, skills, resources) to affect decisions impacting on their communities.


Can be informal, formal and non-formal:

  • Informal refers to experiential and personal learning
  • Formal learning refers to what we gain from courses, academic studies and continual professional development
  • Non-formal education is that which can be informal or formal but occurs in non-traditional settings e.g. in communities.


Any collection of people in the community, voluntary, public and private sectors and any hybrid configuration across these sectors. It refers to community groups, charities, community and social enterprises, statutory agencies, businesses.


This covers any physical or human resource that supports the community development process and could include technical equipment, IT-based resources, buildings, sources of specialist knowledge, local assets


The work a community development practitioner may undertake to ensure the group can pursue its aims. The types of activities may include: providing information, moral and motivational encouragement, researching particular topics, identifying sources of help, listening to group members' ideas and thought processes and reflecting them back, facilitating decision-making, acting as an advocate, coach, mentor, critical friend.


This refers to both hardware and online tools/apps which can be used in practice and communication (including social media).

Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

30 Mar 2028





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Community Voluntary Workers, Community Activator

SOC Code


community development; community development practitioner; community development practice; community development values; community development research; community development consultation; community development groups; community development methods