Ten standards set out areas against which community involvement can be measured and performance assessed. As draft standards they were tested in six sites: Dundee, Dunoon, Glasgow. Helensburgh, Stirling and West Lothian. The pilots identified examples for each of the following 10 standards
- Involvement: to identify and involve the people and organisations who have an interest in the focus of the engagement.
- Support: to identify and overcome any barriers to involvement.
- Planning: to gather evidence of the needs and available resources and use this evidence to agree the purpose, scope and timescale of the engagement and the actions to be taken.
- Methods: to agree and use methods of engagement that are ‘fit for purpose’.
- Working together: to agree and use clear procedures that enable the participants to work with one another effectively and efficiently.
- Sharing information: to ensure that necessary information is communicated between the participants.
- Working with others: to work effectively with others with an interest in the engagement.
- Improvement: to develop actively the skills, knowledge and confidence of all the participants
- Feedback: to convey the results of the engagement to the wider community and agencies affected.
- Monitoring and evaluation: to monitor and evaluate whether the engagement achieves its purposes and meets the national standards for community engagement.
Examples of good practice included in the illustrations from the pilots include
- Planning – in a neighbourhood community plan, an audit showed that 27 different methods and 91 engagement activities were used by local agencies to communicate with the community. Residents reviewed what worked best and asking the question ‘are officials communicating effectively with people?’. They used the evidence in drawing up a strategic plan for important issues and ensuring difficult to reach groups were included.
- Working together – a group of community planning partners developed a scorecard to assess the engagement practices of partners and whether requirements were being met.
- Improvement – a local regeneration development company recognised its representatives were discussing important issues from different opinions and expertise in areas such as drug misuse. To improve their understanding they sought to increase knowledge by bringing in groups such as the police, those working with young people and health workers.
- Feedback – the multi-agency Early Years Partnership had conducted a survey of community opinion about the needs and services for parents and young children. It was decided to hire a shop unit in a local mall for two weeks equipped with a play area to contact young parents to discuss and disseminate the findings of the survey.
- National Standards for Community Engagement, www.scotland.gov.uk
- Communities Scotland, press release June 2 2005