Section two - what does a skilled practitioner bring to this?

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A skilled practitioner will be able to use approaches and methodologies which allow the engagement of communities in decision-making, will work effectively with community groups and organisations to support their involvement in engagement exercises and will work in partnership with others to shape engagement approaches. Lastly, but importantly, a skilled practitioner should be prepared and able to reflect on the effectiveness of their own and others practice and offer constructive challenge.

A skilled practitioner will take as their starting point a belief in the capacity of communities and those affected by an issue to define the issue and to develop solutions. It therefore is an asset-based approach.

A skilled practitioner will be able to define why engagement is happening, select methodologies appropriate to the community in which they are working and the issue at hand, will know and be able to express the amount of control on offer to communities, and will have the skills to work effectively with both communities and other partners.

This approach is recognised in a range of competency frameworks. This frameworks set out what a skilled practitioner should be able to do.

(From CLD Competencies)

  • Seek out and engage with individuals, groups and communities
  • Use community action to achieve change
  • Be inclusive and involve the wider community
  • Interact within and across communities
  • Participate in decision making structures and processes
  • Support community participation in partnership and collaborative working

(From CD National Occupational Standards)

  • Promote and support effective relationships between communities and public bodies and other agencies
  • Encourage and support public bodies to build effective relationships with communities

(From Better Community Engagement Curriculum Framework)

  • Establish and nurture inclusive partnerships with communities.
  • Support inter-agency partnerships to work effectively with communities, respecting, valuing and responding to their views.
  • Enable community members to represent community views effectively and to play an active role in decision making and action.
  • Help to highlight the mutual benefits that agencies and communities can get from partnership working.

What we need to be able to do

The overall approach to community engagement should be that it is participatory, collaborative, planned, evidenced and reflective. To support this approach a number of core tools and frameworks are introduced here with links to the resources themselves.

Tools, resources and methods: