Who's working with Scotland's communities?

This article was first published in Third Force News and features contributions from SCDC's Head of Programmes Mick Doyle.

Do you work with communities to support their learning and development? If so, you need to make sure your voice is heard though the Working with Scotland's Communities survey 2018.

The Community Learning and Development (CLD) Standards Council and Education Scotland are carrying out a national survey of the CLD workforce. Better information is needed to advocate for better support for communities and to plan services for maximum impact.

As Mick Doyle of the Scottish Community Development Centre says:

"More and more people are practising some form of CLD these days, although It may be just one part of their role and  they might not identify with the label.  It's not only the more obvious roles in public services, community development trusts, third sector organisations, but also in  lots of projects working on wider issues in communities of place, interest  or identify. What matters is to support it properly and help make services more effective for people  individually and collectively."

So - you might be thinking: "CLD - isn't that something local authorities do?" But the reality is that more and more CLD activity is carried out by 3rd sector organisations. However, organisations and even practitioners themselves may not describe what they do in this way - and as a result may not get the recognition they deserve:

"We know community-based learning run by third sector organisations can transform lives but it is often difficult to evidence the impact. By taking part in this important survey you can contribute to developing a more accurate picture of the extent of community based learning activities and the workforce that supports adult learning, whether paid or voluntary. Don't miss this chance to contribute your story." (Jackie Howie, Chief Executive, Learning Link)

That's why it's so important for TFN readers to respond to the survey, make sure their organisation submits a response and encourage colleagues (and volunteers who are delivering CLD activities) to do the same. Youth Scotland Chief Executive Ian McLaughlan says:

"Youth workers - paid and volunteer - play a significant part in the CLD landscape even though many practitioners don't recognise that they are part of a wider sector. It would be pity if this important survey didn't capture the rich diversity of learning and development work going on in communities across the country".

You can access the survey here -

https://www.research.net/r/WorkingWithScotlandsCommunitiesSurvey. If your job title says that you're a community development worker, a youth worker or an adult learning worker then you are definitely part of the CLD picture. But so are lots of other people whose roles are described in a wide variety of ways. Not sure if what you do is CLD? Have a look at The CLD Standards Council's Competent Practitioner Framework - competencies and values of community learning and development - if all or part of what you do in your job (or your role as a volunteer) reflects this, then we'd really like to hear from you.

As well as getting feedback from individual practitioners, the survey is gathering information from organisations large and small that employ CLD practitioners. Making sure that third sector organisations are represented as CLD employers - from Third Sector Interfaces to local community groups to national voluntary organisations - is vital. If you're responding as an organisation/employer, there's a survey preview that will help to clarify the information you need before you start your response - http://rocketsciencelab.co.uk/working-with-scotlands-communities-survey/.

Help make sure that the Working with Scotland's Communities survey 2018 does what it says on the tin, and reflects the great CLD work going on in the 3rd sector.