Facilitate community learning for social and political development

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


This standard is about the role that community development practitioners have in facilitating the learning of individuals and groups for collective community action. It examines community development practitioners' roles in providing learning opportunities to develop the expertise, skills, knowledge and creative ideas of people involved in community development. Its focus is learning that supports collective action and gives communities a more effective voice. This means learning activities could involve the development of critical understandings of cultural, social, political and economic processes and structures; how these are common experiences for people in general; and how they may be challenged.

This standard is relevant to community development practitioners organising and/or delivering community development learning opportunities.

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 Five.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. build lasting trusting relationships with individuals from different backgrounds and experiences in the learning process
  2. identify the learning needs of individuals and community groups
  3. tailor learning activities to meet the expressed needs of individuals and community groups
  4. use people's experiences as the starting point of participatory learning activities and methods for meeting different learning needs
  5. create supportive environments for learning which explore values, perspectives, rights and responsibilities
  6. use learning opportunities to promote deliberate actions for social change
  7. utilise appropriate resources for community development information advice and guidance
  8. utilise appropriate resources for community development learning
  9. negotiate with training and learning providers to support community learning and professional development
  10. monitor, review and report on the impact of different learning opportunities for individuals and communities
  11. support communities to make use of their legal rights

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the role of learning in promoting trust, understanding and respect within and between communities
  2. barriers to learning and ways to overcome them
  3. anti-discriminatory practice in the provision and delivery of learning
  4. approaches and methods to support learning
  5. the impact of different learning needs and learning preferences
  6. different ways to support action, learning and critical analyses of the nature of power, inequality and discrimination and democratic action
  7. how to identify, adapt and create resources for community learning
  8. relevant qualification frameworks
  9. formal and informal learning support networks and how to access them
  10. methods of evaluating learning activities and the outcomes of learning for communities and individuals
  11. how the dissemination of evaluation results improve learning provision
  12. 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.

  6. the role of learning in changing people's social, economic and political situation is recognised and explored

  7. time is taken to build trust within the learning group so that people feel confident to share experiences and learn from those of others
  8. learning methods are used to enable people to develop the confidence and skills to be able to represent themselves and their interests
  9. participants are involved in sharing their views and experiences of learning and contributing ideas for improving the experience for the benefit of others
  10. participants are encouraged and supported to identify further opportunities for their own development




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 learning

A developmental process that is both a collective and an individual activity, based on the sharing of skills, awareness, knowledge, and experience in order to bring about sustainable desired outcomes.

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