Resources and research to support community engagement including the national standards, issues of inequality, and developing skills for facilitating meaningful and useful engagement.
New National Standards for Community Engagement were published in 2016 with a focus on strengthening participation and community engagement, particularly in the context of the Community Empowerment Act.
What Works Scotland and the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) worked together to undertake the full review and refresh of the original National Standards for Community Engagement to ensure that the Standards were fit for purpose.
There are seven standards:
- Working Together
There is an intersection between community engagement and inequality. Inequalities in health, wealth, income, education and so on, can be arguably seen as stemming from inequalities in power and influence. Therefore, community engagement processes can simply reproduce existing inequalities, unless they are designed and facilitated to distribute influence by ensuring diversity and inclusion.
Our literature review examined evidence from Scotland and the UK, on what is being done to overcome inequality in community engagement.
This new era of community participation in local democracy requires public services staff to develop skills for collaborative engagement. The traditional reliance on public meetings and community leaders is failing to engage wide sections of the community. Many are sceptical about conventional forms of community participation, while others are seeking different ways to become involved. So how do we facilitate dialogue and deliberation to empower community involvement?
Community engagement can reveal views that may surprise or challenge public service providers. The study What Do Citizens Want? looks in-depth at a small number of users of housing services, asking what makes their lives meaningful and exploring how support services fit into their lives. It shows the profound effect that formal and informal relationships can have on people’s wellbeing. It finds that people were generally more positive about support services when they were seen to be ‘going the extra mile’. But this poses a dilemma for services.