Encourage and support public bodies to build relationships with communities
This standard is for community development practitioners who have responsibility for implementing local and national government policies and/or initiatives which require dialogue, working relationships and lines of accountability to be developed between public bodies, other organisations and communities or community groups.
The community development standards are arranged in six key areas:
Understand and practise community development
Understand and engage with communities
Group work and collective action
Collaboration and cross-sectoral working
Community learning for social change
Governance and organisational development
This standard is within Key Area Four.
You must be able to:
- communicate the potential benefits, challenges and wider implications when public bodies seek to engage with communities
- work with public bodies to enable them to respond to diverse communities seeking improved services based on community-identified needs
- work with public bodies and other organisations to identify resources to support community representatives
- support decision-makers to establish equitable and inclusive values, perspectives and approaches when working with communities
- assess the extent to which government policies and initiatives promote the values of social justice, equality, anti-discrimination and inclusion for communities
- communicate to public bodies the benefits and contribution of a community development approach to achieving policy objectives
- support public bodies and other organisations to use inclusive and empowering approaches when engaging communities
- promote the use of local, regional or nationally agreed frameworks as the basis for developing working relationships with communities
Knowledge and Understanding
You need to know and understand:
- how representative and participatory democracy work in practice
- concepts of political literacy, citizenship rights and responsibilities in relation to governance
- relevant local, national and international government policies,
- the contribution that diverse communities and autonomous groups can make to decisions affecting communities
- how injustice, discrimination and social exclusion impact on the lives of individuals and communities
- how power relationships affect collaborative working
- the social, political, cultural and economic context of communities
- the links and disparities between concepts of community development and key ideas presented in government policies and initiatives
- the powers of public bodies and the duties and obligations they have to communities
- the different levels of representation and accountability involved and required for effective partnership working
- barriers to involvement and a range of approaches and techniques for overcoming them
- how to examine institutional practices and perspectives and their impact on communities
- how to get others to reflect on institutional practices and perspectives and how they impact on communities
- how to work together to obtain resources
- inclusive and participatory techniques for relationship building
- how to identify training and learning needs required to build effective relationships
- different models of community advocacy
- techniques and approaches to increase accountability to communities
- communication systems and processes to inform and support collaborative work
- the benefits of community development values and processes in building relationships
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:
- Social justice and equality
- Community empowerment
- Collective action
- 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.
- the complexity and diversity of communities is recognised and used to inform the planning of community engagement processes to ensure equality
- practices that discriminate against individuals and communities are highlighted and addressed
- the skills and knowledge needed to engage with and empower communities is recognised and learning opportunities created
- meaningful commitment to collective action aimed at improving localities is demonstrated
- reflection and evaluation techniques are used to review how organisations build relationships with communities
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.
Entails enabling others to have a voice and get their views across. It is about ways in which power relationships can be addressed and rigid systems challenged.
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.
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.
The use of critical reflective, visioning and planning techniques which encourage individual and group questioning of cultural, social, economic and political norms, and their interdependence, that maintain inequalities and oppressions.
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).