Author Archives: Lorna Renton

Recruiting a new chair

Are you the person to shape and support professional body for Community Learning and Development in Scotland?

We are recruiting for a new chair of the CLD Standards Council following the resignation of Ashley Pringle after 5 years in the role.

This appointment will be for up to 3 years in the first instance, and will be formally effective from 1st March 2019.

Information on the appointment and how to apply is available on the Scottish Government website –

The closing date for application is 18 January 2019.

Interviews will be held on 13th February.

CLD Workforce Survey 2018 – moving to next phase

The CLD Standards Council and Education Scotland have commissioned Rocket Science UK Ltd to conduct research into the community learning and development workforce.

The initial online survey phase has been completed. We have had a great response – thanks to the well over 1,000 individuals and organisations who have provided information and contributed their views.

Views from practitioners, volunteers, employer organisations  and stakeholders are essential to be able to understand who is doing what across Scotland. Rocket Science are conducting follow-up in-depth interviews with a sample of around 50 people. The research will help us to better advocate for community learning and development, and better support the workforce, volunteers, employers and organisations with the training and development needs.

The CLDSC will be exploring the messages from the research as they emerge, and taking a lead in identifying the issues they highlight and the action needed.

CLD Standards Council Members Update – December 2018

#CLDSC10: celebrating the first 10 years, looking forward to the next challenges!

10 ballons and cakeThe CLDSC’s inaugural Christmas lecture on 5 December marked the start of celebrations of the CLD Standards Council’s progress since being established in 2008, which are also the launch pad for the next steps for our professional body and for the CLD profession.

Dr Marion Allison presenting
Dr Marion Allison, the Head of the CLD Standards Council, presented the findings and key issues from her PhD thesis on Young People, Enterprise and Social Capital.

The full Thesis is available on i-develop.

Look out for the rest of the #CLDSC10 landmarks!

CLDSC Conference 2019: The pursuit of social justice: leadership in CLD – Save the date: 27/3/19

Our 2019 conference, open to CLDSC members only, will feature dialogue around award-winning CLD practice that demonstrates CLD’s role in the pursuit of social justice by communities and learners, and explore how we can develop the types of leadership needed to support this. The Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP, is scheduled to give the keynote address.

Working with Scotland’s Communities Research

The Working with Scotland’s Communities workforce survey closes on December 7; thanks to all members who contributed to the great response from well over 1,000 individuals and organisations. Last chance to respond here –

Rocket Science, who are undertaking the research on behalf of the Standards Council and Education Scotland, are undertaking follow-up interviews with a sample of around 50 people.

The CLDSC will be exploring the messages from the research as they emerge, and taking a lead in identifying the issues they highlight and the action needed.

Get ready to re-register!

The CLDSC is up-grading the Registration system and linking it much more closely with support for professional learning. Regular re-registration every 3 years will help members to demonstrate that they belong to a professional body that has high expectations of registered members.

CLDSC moving on –

  • Thank you Ashley…. New CLDSC chair to be appointed
    Ashley Pringle stood down as Chair in September after ably steering the CLDSC’s development for 5 years. The process for appointing a new Chair of the Standards Council is under way. Jim Sweeney and Mike Naulty have taken on the role of interim co-chairs.
  • Welcome to new Committee members, thanks to all who applied
    The Approvals, Professional Learning and Registration Committees are benefiting from new members appointed from a large and talented pool of applicants. Recruitment to the Executive will follow once the new Chair is in place.
  • Membership: 2,200 and rising
    More than 300 new members have registered with the Standards Council over the past year, and there is a steady flow of new applications.
    Do you have CLD colleagues, partners or volunteers who would benefit from registering as members of their professional body? Encourage them to apply at

Youth Work NOS review

The CLDSC bid successfully to undertake the review of the Youth Work National Occupational Standards. Work on the review is underway; for further information contact Kirsty Gemmell –

Other news and upcoming events

  • And another anniversary… 
    Concept  journal’s latest issue marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed – a tribute to “one of the most distinctive, compelling and (still) contemporary voices in popular education”.
    Open access at
  • Volunteering in CLD – i-develop
    Have you seen the Volunteering in CLD theme on i-develop? It aims to help support volunteers to be confident CLD practitioners, and includes advice on volunteer policies, recruitment and supporting volunteers in practice.
  • Local Governance Review
    The CLDSC submitted a response to the Scottish Government’s Democracy Matters consultation, which closed last week, following an excellent discussion at the Executive Committee. Particular thanks to Dawn Brown, who has recently joined the Approvals Committee, who shared her experience of engaging local groups in Aberdeenshire in the consultation.
    Read the CLDSC response.
  • The world heads for Dundee in 2019
    What’s new about that you may say. The difference is that the World Community Development Conference – WCDC 2019 – will take place in Dundee from 24 to 26 June next year. Details at A great opportunity for CLD practitioners in Scotland to get involved in a global dialogue. Early bird registration available until 31 December 2018. The time to make plans on how to fund your place and get there is now!

CLD Standards Council responds to Local Governance Review

Following an excellent discussion at the November meeting of our Executive Committee, the CLD Standards Council submitted a response to the Scottish Government’s Democracy Matters consultation, described as “a conversation about community decision making”, which closed on 30 November.  The consultation forms one part of the Local Governance Review, which is considering “how powers, responsibilities and resources are shared across national and local spheres of government, and with communities”.

Read the response: Local Governance Review – Democracy Matters – CLDSC response

For information on the Local Governance Review, go to

Autumn Update from Dr Marion Allison

Dr Marion Allison October 2018A glorious, autumnal day and I find myself in Stirling University waiting impatiently.
Over the summer months I’ve also been waiting for the right time to write to you about developments within the CLD Standards Council and this long wait in a busy, student filled office presents the ideal opportunity to get typing.

The summer heatwave began with the draft Education (Scotland) Bill 2018 and a meeting with Mr John Swinney the Deputy First Minister of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills. Following the decision not to create an Education Workforce Council that would have included the CLD Standards Council, this meeting was a welcome opportunity to highlight the professional learning needs of our Members and get us back on track to secure, strengthen and grow the CLD Standards Council in its own right.

cover of the International StandardsThis resumed with the launch of the International Community Development Standards at the World Community Development Conference in Ireland.  We were proud to showcase our work on a global stage with representatives from many other countries sharing their desire to follow Scotland’s lead and develop national CLD professional agencies and standards of their own.

We have continued to lead and build relationships across the United Kingdom and were pleased to meet with colleagues to discuss the Joint Education and Training Standards for CLD related courses. Did you know that because of this work your professional CLD qualification is also recognised across England, Ireland and Wales?

We were thrilled to win the bid to refresh the National Occupational Standards for Youth Work and look forward to working together with Members and partners to take this forward.
Work Force Survey heads iconMembers have also been busy over the summer months. The Working with Scotland’s Communities Survey is open until 7 December and over 1000 people and organisations have already responded to the questionnaire that will help us gain better insight of the CLD workforce in Scotland. If you – or your organisation – have not yet completed this survey now is your chance!

For the third year running the CLD Standards Council have made available grants to support professional learning throughout the CLD regional networks, so contact your local representatives for more information and get involved.

The end of the long hot summer was marked by a wave of thanks and a fond farewell to our Chair of six years, Mr Ashley Pringle. As the process of recruiting a new Ministerial Chair begins Mr Mike Naulty (previously of Dundee University) and Mr Jim Sweeney (currently of Youthlink Scotland) have agreed to share this role on an interim basis. They were first called into action at the recent induction event for the new Council Members. We were delighted with the number of applications we received to join the CLD Standards Council committees and thank you to everyone who applied.

So, now the buzzer has gone and my time waiting at Stirling University is over. Thanks for keeping me company! Keep in touch and thank you for all your hard work and commitment.

A few days in Ireland – the World Community Development Conference 2018

Reflections from Colin Ross, Policy and Practice Development Officer

Colin Ross 2017Participating in an international conference like the World Community Development Conference is a massive privilege, even if it doesn’t always feel that way when experiencing the delights of budget air travel.

This is my attempt to share at least something of the experience and the learning from the conference, which was organised by the International Association for Community Development (IACD), Maynooth University and Community Work Ireland in the last week in June,.

A primary reason for the CLD Standards Council to take part in the conference was that we had been working with IACD to develop “shared international standards for community development practice”. The Standards were successfully launched at the conference and I’ll come back to that. The conference gave me a far better understanding of why IACD colleagues saw the Standards as a timely and essential development.

The first impression was of the spread of participants from around the world. IACD (which celebrated its 65th year in 2018) has had a strong “Anglophone” bias – and base – and there was strong representation at the conference from for example Australia, New Zealand and the USA. But there were participants from  a wide range of countries in Africa, Asia and South America, although fewer from Europe (other than the UK and Ireland).

Conference proceedings started with a song – members of a university choir, unannounced and appearing from scattered points in the hall. A tone of openness was set, supported by the community work students who were the conference “stewards”. Conversations as much as formal sessions showed the way in which people use community development methods to grapple with the impact of extreme weather events, poverty and poor sanitation in the Himalayas, or the aftermath of conflict in Colombia or the impact of austerity on public services in Hong Kong.

Two of the speakers in the plenary sessions made a particular impression on me. Mary Robinson spoke about how she came to her current advocacy for climate justice “not as a scientist or an environmental lawyer…It was because of the impact on people, and the impact on their rights – their rights to food and safe water, health, education and shelter… Climate justice transforms climate change from a discourse on greenhouse gases and melting icecaps into a civil rights movement with the people and communities most vulnerable to climate impacts at its heart.”  The text of Mary’s speech is available on her organisations website.

Mary Robinson impressed as someone who has worked through the formal processes of government and used them to work and advocate for the empowerment of those excluded from power and resources. I can remember a period of a few months or weeks in 1969 when Bernadette McAliskey (Devlin as she then was) also seemed to be on the “inside”, as the UK media were fascinated by a 21 year old woman from Derry representing the Northern Ireland civil rights movement at Westminster. Almost 50 years later the same woman – small, ordinary looking,  and one of the most remarkable orators I’ve heard – explained to the conference that she’d only become an MP by accident. She spoke about her community development work on migrant workers’ rights, and challenged us to confront issues about power. Otherwise, she said, we’ll always be “lurking in community development”, as she imagined those in power describing her current activities.

The same issue had come through in the debate on shared international standards. Is the whole concept of professionalism, and the concern with standards that flows from it, a way of negating practice that seeks to challenge inequality and oppression, as some IACD members argued? Or are they an important means of ensuring that community development practice embodies its stated values, of widening and deepening its impact, and of sharing learning?

In the workshop focusing on how the Standards can be used, and elsewhere at the conference, there was strong support for the view that the Standards  can be an effective way of spreading understanding of community development and improving value-based practice. There is strong interest in using them, for example in Nigeria, the USA, India and Russia (along with other former parts of the Soviet Union).

The standards are availble to download from the IACD website

In Scotland, we have an established framework of values, Code of Ethics and competences for CLD, supported by national occupational standards for community development and youth work. But we need to ensure that these continue to be fit for purpose: using the international Standards may be a productive way of thinking afresh about how our framework can explain, challenge and develop practice.

Over the 3 days of the conference, and a day’s study tour in Dublin, there were a wealth of other insights and experiences to spur fresh thinking. One example – hearing about a campaign for greater equality in education in Ireland, and  “collective impact” approaches in the USA (school reform seen as one part of wider transformational change) was the best stimulus to finding new ways to influence what we call “education reform” in Scotland.

The 2019 World Community Development Conference will be in Dundee (See web page)  so there is a great opportunity for CLD practitioners across Scotland to attend. Next June is not a long time away so worth thinking about how you, colleagues and people you work with in communities could benefit from participating – and how to make it possible. If you live in Scotland you won’t even need to check the size of your bag.

Colin Ross
Policy and Practice Development Officer for the CLD Standards Council.

Your CLDSC Committee update – August 2018

Here are some of the key things we were talking about at our joint Approvals, Professional Learning and Registration Committee meetings on 17th August 2018:


  • We’ll be working on updating some of our information including the development of short videos to explain and promote our work.
  • TSIs – look out!  We’ll be in touch to discuss how we can better work together to support your CLD activities.

You and your Standards Council

  • Registration Renewal – we’ve been developing our renewal process and will be in touch soon with existing Members to explain the process and what you will need to do to renew your registration.
  • Member Vote coming soon to get your views on having our register of members publicly searchable.


  • 2019 Members’ Conference – save the date!  27th March 2019, Edinburgh. Deputy First Minister John Swinney will be giving the keynote address.  Workshop and booking details to follow.
  • Come and see us at Scotland’s Learning Festival on 19th and 20th September (Stand C50).  Registration is free and there are CLD workshops on offer.   Find registration information here –
  • And finally…….the Workforce Survey is still open so please ensure you submit your information.  So far, around 600 individual CLD practitioners have completed the survey, but we need more!  We’re also keen that organisations submit a CLD workforce response.  Find the survey here:

Member Statistics: Total Membership of 2119

International Standards for Community Development Practice launched

The first-ever international standards for community development practice are now available.

The CLD Standards Council had been working on the Standards with the International Association for Community Development, and the Association launched them at their AGM as part of the World Community Development Conference at the end of June 2018.

The full Standards Guidance, and recommendations on how it can be used can be found on the IACD website

STEM survey for CLD practitioners

The STEM (Sciences Technologies, Engineering and Mathematics) Strategy was launched in the Scottish Parliament in November 2017 by Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, who was then Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science.   The strategy sets out the vision for STEM Education and Training for the next five years around the themes of Excellence, Equity, Inspiration and Connection.  There are a number of Actions in the Strategy related to Community Learning and Development which are summarised in the attachment below.

One of the key actions is around professional learning/training in STEM subjects and there is a CLD STEM Professional Learning Survey specifically aimed at CLD practitioners.

Colleagues in Education Scotland are keen to hear about the types of professional learning that would make the greatest impact on CLD practitioners and the participants in CLD activities. They would also like to know more about the best way for you to access career-long professional learning.  There is also an opportunity to consider how your CLD work can incorporate STEM activities, as well as identifying supports to assist with this.

The survey will only take a few minutes to complete.  Your individual response will not be shared with other organisations. However, the overall findings from the survey will play an important role in shaping the Scottish Government strategy for CLD career-long professional learning in STEM and your help is appreciated.

Please take a few minutes to complete the  CLD STEM Professional Learning Survey

Summary of actions in the Strategy related to CLD- STEM Strategy CLD Related Actions

CLD Workforce Survey 2018

The CLD Standards Council and Education Scotland have commissioned Rocket Science UK Ltd to conduct research into the community learning and development workforce.
The Working with Scotland’s Communities survey is core to this research.

Views from practitioners, volunteers, employer organisations  and stakeholders are essential to be able to understand who is doing what across Scotland.  The research will help us to better advocate for community learning and development, and better support the workforce, volunteers, employers and organisations with the training and development needs.

Completing the survey

We are seeking responses from individuals AND from employer organisations.  The online survey will be followed up by some optional telephone interviews later in the year.

The survey can be found –

Who does this research apply to?

We know that community learning and development staff and volunteers work in a wide range of roles many of whom may not automatically identify as a CLD practitioner.
We are keen to hear from practitioners, volunteers, employer organisations and stakeholders who:

  • Work with communities to support their learning and development
  • This could include job titles such as community learning and development, youth work, community planning, public health, adult or family learning, or inequality, poverty or other interventions in the community
  • Work in the public or third sectors
  • Conduct work in a way that meets the competencies and values of community learning and development

What are we looking for from employer organisations?

One of the respondent groups we are interested in are organisations that employ staff in community and learning development roles –i.e. anyone who fits into the list above.
We would like a survey response from the employer organisations on behalf of  their whole organisation, regional office, department or team.   The survey asks if it is being answered as an individual or on behalf of an organisation.

What we would like you to do

We need help to identify and encourage as many people and organisations as possible to complete the survey.


All responses will be anonymous. We will not use this information to compare performance, expenditure or needs between specific organisations or local authorities. All answers will be aggregated, and the key themes reported on by Rocket Science for Education Scotland and the CLD Standards Council.

Any questions?

Please get in touch with Clare Hammond, Associate Director at Rocket Science UK Ltd – or 0131 226 4949.