Support communities who want to bring about positive social change

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


The purpose of community development is to support communities to organise collectively to effect change. This involves making sure that community groups and communities have information about opportunities to express their views, how to find allies, and how to plan for and implement collective actions and campaigns to tackle their identified concerns.

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 Three.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. support groups to agree what challenges need addressing in a community
  2. facilitate groups to research, plan, and seek support, allies and resources to help in bringing about social change
  3. advise on the use of participative methods to allocate roles and responsibilities and review plans
  4. support communities to make use of their legal rights
  5. advise on ways of resolving skills gaps in planning for action
  6. support groups to collectively resolve any conflicts that develop during a campaign
  7. support groups to use media to publicise their campaign
  8. facilitate awareness of the information and communication needs of those involved in a successful campaign
  9. encourage participatory evaluation to review plans and the campaign's impact on decision-makers

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the contribution of social movements and community action in bringing about change
  2. the impact of power relationships upon individuals and communities
  3. participative ways to challenge local and national policy decisions
  4. the benefits of recognising and valuing diversity; inclusive and anti-discriminatory practice
  5. how to overcome barriers to involvement in collective activities
  6. positive and negative effects of conflict
  7. how to develop community-based strategies which build the confidence, skills and independence of community groups
  8. the importance of independence in bringing about positive social change
  9. collective and participative approaches to agreeing common issues, goals, plans, capacity, reviews and evaluations
  10. equality and anti-discriminatory practice within groups
  11. transparent and accountable practice and structures
  12. how to support the roles people take in groups
  13. how to build support through strategic alliances and different media
  14. media and publicity strategies to get a campaign's voice heard
  15. how to support communities to develop their knowledge of relevant law and legal remedies


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. people's skills, knowledge and diverse experience are recognised and used in planning a campaign
  2. open and consensual community decision-making structures are valued and adopted
  3. simple and clear mechanisms are put in place to demonstrate accountability to the community for all decisions and actions
  4. collaborative working relationships with other groups, networks, voluntary sector organisations, and public bodies are developed
  5. the approach used in the campaign is analysed for future actions





Involves being responsible within and to communities for the actions taken and decisions made; and the opportunities for members of communities to hold to account representatives, decision-makers, groups and individuals working on behalf of communities

Anti-discriminatory practice

Actively removes barriers to involvement, promotes diversity and challenges stereotyping, inequality and injustice amongst individuals and organisations.

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 action

Community-based campaigns and networks concentrating on issues of concern to that community, eg a campaign to develop a safe and creative play space for children, a campaign against the planned closure of a library, a campaign for empty houses to be made available at affordable rents, the public demonstrations against deportations.

Community development practitioner

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

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.


Entails an overall assessment of the achievements, effectiveness and impact of work carried out.


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