Maintain community development practice

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


This standard relates to the need for all organisations involved in community development to integrate the values and processes of community development within their own work.

This standard is relevant to all community development practitioners who support communities in this process.

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. explain the purpose, values and benefits of community development to others
  2. discuss the relevance of community development processes and approaches to the work of the organisation with colleagues and others
  3. support organisation to ensure that marginalised communities are reached
  4. provide information about different communities
  5. audit development needs in relation to supporting community development practice
  6. provide opportunities to increase knowledge and skills in community development

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the benefits of using community development concepts in practice
  2. how to challenge inappropriate, non-inclusive and tokenistic approaches to community engagement
  3. how inequality and injustice impact on the lives of individuals and communities
  4. different perspectives on community empowerment and community engagement
  5. ways to agree organisational needs and priorities
  6. how to tailor organisational priorities to meet community needs
  7. the range of own organisational policies that may impact on communities
  8. how communities are complex and dynamic
  9. how to use the learning from communities' experiences for organisational approaches to work
  10. the significance of divided or conflicting loyalties to community development and organisational practice


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.

  6. community development values explicitly inform organisational decision making

  7. all policies and procedures are proofed against the community development values
  8. all approaches to community engagement and involvement are designed to be inclusive and empower those involved
  9. the values and process of community development are regularly explored in order to ensure a common and collective understanding within the organisation
  10. the skills and knowledge required within the organisation to undertake effective community development are acknowledged and creatively addressed.




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.


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