Community engagement

...encouraging productive relationships between communities and public bodies


The National Standards for Community Engagement define community engagement as:

'Developing and sustaining a working relationship between one or more public body and one or more community group, to help them both to understand and act on the needs or issues that the community experiences'.

It is now accepted that public services that involve their users are likely to be of higher quality and more relevant to the communities they serve. The Scottish Government has built the principle of community engagement into policy and guidance to public services.  This is most notable for Community Planning through which the Local Government Scotland Act requires all public services to work together.  The guidance on the act states:

'Community Planning is essentially a process to secure greater engagement from communities in the planning and delivery of services'.

In addition, the Best Value 2 Community Engagement Framework produced by Audit Scotland emphasises the need for good quality community engagement practice at all levels and in particular in relation to:

  • Commitment  of organisations to engaging with communities
  • How well organisations understand the needs and aspirations of communities
  • How well communities are involved in decision-making
  • How well communities are involved in planning, monitoring and evaluating services
  • Demonstrating what community engagement has achieved


Our role in relation to community engagement is to develop useful frameworks, resources and tools and support those involved in community engagement activity to develop best practice through their use and application.

Our current work on community engagement includes:

In addition, SCDC worked on the Scottish Government's Better Community Engagement Programme as well as the Commonwealth Games Legacy Programme to involve communities. We also developed a series of case studies of community engagement within the context of community safety.

Resources to support community engagement