Report from Audit Scotland on the Challenges and Performance of Local Government.

The report recognises that Councils have a challenging role but have worked hard to improve and maintain services to their communities and improve how they use their resources.  However with a growing gap between demand and resources, more fundamental, transformational changes are needed in service provision.

The report gives information on individual councils as well as the national view, making recommendations for the future.

Read the report on the Audit Scotland website

Practitioner Spotlight: Rory Brown

Rory BrownOur latest #becauseofCLD practitioner spotlight is Rory Brown, who works within a Housing Association with a remit on both Community and Digital Inclusion.

He also sits on the Registration Committee of the CLD Standards Council.

Twitter: @justroryb

What’s your current role/title?

My current role is as a Community Inclusion Assistant for Govan Housing Association where I support a wide range of projects through our Community Hub programme including social groups, food provision and education and training. I also have a direct remit for Digital Inclusion for the association where we offer 1 to 1 digital learning sessions for tenants, provide free computer, wifi and printer access to the local community and organise and run basic IT classes.

Where did you begin your #becauseofCLD journey?

I used to tell myself that I fell into a job in CLD. Looking back though that was not the case and the more practitioners I spoke to, the more I realised my journey was similar to many others.

At school I wanted to be an architect but outside of school my parents had encouraged me for years to become involved in community groups. I attended the Scouts and Army Cadets, I volunteered sporadically and was in various youth groups. After school I tried several times to undertake a degree in architecture, art or design and technology but nothing seemed to fit.

The real transformative experience for me came from being involved in the Caley Youth project in Stevenston; a multi-media youth centre that was the epicentre of creative young people, passionate staff, movie geeks, rockers and tech wizards. I owe much of my career to date to the staff there, in particular the centre manager Gordon Cowan who gave me my first job in youth work, mentored me (alongside many other youth workers) and encouraged me to pursue a degree in CLD.

What are the key CLD values and principles that have been your anchor in your various posts and/or roles?

I think there are many jobs in different sectors where people can work in a silo and be successful. However, within CLD I have always fundamentally believed that working in partnership means we achieve better outcomes, not only with partner organisations who can inspire us, share their resources and challenge our approaches and assumptions but also when working in partnership with individuals and community groups to co-design programs and work in a person-centered, community led way. In my experience, the best CLD workers are those who bring people together and work with them towards a common goal.

If you had to pick one of the Ethics, which would it be and why?

They all speak to me in different ways, but if I were to pick one ethic I would say “Empowerment” stands out the most. CLD is fundamentally the process of trying to do yourself out of a job. I know in a lot of practical ways that is very true, funding streams means that jobs are often for a fixed period so thinking about an exit strategy and sustainability of your project is important. It is more than that though.

I enjoy seeing people flourish when supported, I love it when groups take the reins and drive their own agendas and achieve things they never thought they could. The process of building positive, meaningful relationships with people and working with them, not FOR them is the whole reason I enjoy this sort of work.

How do you make time for professional learning and development and who supports you in this?

I try to fit professional learning in wherever I can; at work, at home, by volunteering, by reading, by watching the occasional documentary or speaking to colleagues in different projects.

Professional learning comes from lots of different places. I am lucky enough to have an incredibly supportive employer who allows me time to attend CLDSC meetings, who are supporting me through a Masters in Social Enterprise and provides me with opportunities to identify my own training needs whilst also keeping me up to date with organisational wide training requirements.

At home I have a very supportive wife who is constantly forgiving me for reading articles when we should be relaxing at the weekend. Although I read for pleasure, I try to make time every week to read papers/articles and books related to my field.

Describe CLD in one word.


I have friends who earn twice as much as me, who work standard office hours and are not nearly as happy going into work each morning. Having a job where I can be flexible, think creatively and make even a small positive impact on the lives of communities sets this apart from other careers. No day is ever the same, no person is ever the same.

What is the best thing that has happened this month?

For me it is the small, informal moments that mean the most, in particular conversations with people. I was helping one of our community centre users re-bandage her arm (she had hurt it in an accident and the dressing had come loose) and we had a really in-depth chat about her life, how she ended up in our local area and what she wanted to do in the future.

I came away feeling re-energized that we were on the right path together and that I understood more about what she wanted to get from the process.

If you would like to be in the spotlight – get in touch !

Consultation on a new National Public Health body

The Scottish Government is consulting on the proposals for a new national public health body in Scotland, to be known as ‘Public Health Scotland’

Public Health Scotland will have an important role in translating public health intelligence and evidence into policy and practice; and realising the value of data to influence ever more meaningful connections locally, nationally and with communities to improve health and wellbeing.

The consultation  document and further information are online at  –

The CLD Standards Council has submitted a response to the consultation –

Download: New National Public Health body consultation CLDSC Response

Congratulations to Give a dog a bone… and an animal a home

The Give a dog a bone… and an animal a home charity won the Scottish Charity Award for Celebrating Communities.  The Award was sponsored by CLD Standards Council.

Our chair Alan Sherry presented the award to the charity founder Louise Russell at the sparkling 2019 Scottish Charity Awards Ceremony hosted by Sally Magnusson.
Louise Russell being presented with award by Alan Sherry and Sally Magnusson

Give a Dog a Bone is a young, unique charity tackling loneliness through animal companionship.  The charity supports the over 60s to afford a rescue pet companion. The team has helped hundreds of older adults and rescue animals to have a happier life, together, and it’s a win-win – the person gets a friend and the animal gets a home.
Already they have expanded their remit to include a Community Space project where they offer retired people a safe space to make new friend and learn new skills.

A Special Commendation was also awarded to Bridgend Farmhouse.

New Partnership agreement between COSLA and CLD Standards Council

The CLD Standards Council and COSLA are delighted to have signed our new Partnership Agreement.

The commitment to allow local authority staff time to participate in the committees that drive forward the Standards Council’s work is all the more welcome in the light of the pressures that local authorities across Scotland are facing. It builds on the good practice of many councils who have supported their CLD professionals’ involvement in the CLDSC’s work and provides assurance to others considering involvement that this support will be available. COSLA has taken the lead in recognising the role of CLD as a profession in breaking down barriers to inclusion and opportunity, to the well-being and dynamism of communities and to the health of local democracy.

View the Partnership Agreement:  CLD Standards Council and COSLA Partnership Agreement May 2019

University of Dundee Community Education courses approved

Congratulations to the University of Dundee on achieving professional approval for the

  • BA (Hons) Community Education
  • BA (Hons) Community Education work based route
  • PGD Community Education

The passion and commitment of the teaching team came across very clearly throughout the process and appreciation for their hard work was expressed by practice supervisors and students.

During the approval visit the CLD Standards Council approval panel noted some strengths within the 3 programmes approved:

  • They commend the ongoing work on the World Community Development Conference 2019 and support for students
  • The re-introduction of the work based route is seen as a positive step to support sustainability and viability of the BA programme
  • The Student voice is strong and the panel wish to thank the students for their open and honest feedback at the event.
  • Students are well prepared to undertake and develop research skills. The Internship is a real commitment to research in the CLD field and will support organisations and the field more generally
  • The Value based approach is embedded throughout all programmes
  • The University’s strong fieldwork networks and the positive working relationship with practitioners.

The courses were approved from 2019 to 2024.

Appointment of new chair for the CLD Standards Council

Alan SherryYesterday at the annual members’ conference in Glasgow, Mr Richard Lochhead MSP, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, announced that Mr Alan Sherry, Principal of Glasgow Kelvin College, has been appointed as the new Chair of the CLD Standards Council Scotland. The appointment was approved by the Deputy First Minster, Mr John Swinney MSP, following a public, competitive process.

Alan started his career in Community Education and is a Member of the CLD Standards Council.  Under his leadership Glasgow Kelvin College has been at the forefront of community learning and community development in the East of Glasgow for many years. Alan has a wealth of experience in lifelong learning, influencing key developments at city-wide, national and European levels.

Alan will take up post on 1st April; responding to his appointment, he said:

“I am delighted and honoured to be appointed as Chair of the CLD Standards Council Scotland.

“This is an exciting time for all of us involved in CLD, with the renewed emphasis on Lifelong Learning, the importance of youth work in support of Scotland’s young people and in championing community empowerment. I look forward to working with the CLD Standards Council and its partners to take it into the future.”

Practitioner Spotlight: Laura Sutherland

Laura SutherlandOur latest #becauseofCLD practitioner spotlight is Laura Sutherland, Community Development Advisor at Robertson Group.
Laura is in her 4th year studying for the BA Honors in Community Education at the University of the West of Scotland.

What’s your current role?

Group Community Development Advisor at Robertson Group (Construction Firm)
As a community educator who is employed by a major contractor within the construction industry in Scotland my role is to deliver, implement and monitor community activity/engagement including the recruitment, training, SME and social enterprise benefits, community engagement and other community benefits.

Robertson’s Community Development team – alongside project managers and site teams – works tirelessly to make sure that engagement with local schools, community groups, building users, project neighbours and other stakeholders create real benefits rather than being a box-ticking exercise through the delivery of community benefits.

ALSO 4th Year Student at University of West of Scotland, studying on the BA Hons Community Education

Where did you begin your #becauseofCLD journey?

Everyone has a story and I always laugh when I think of where my #becauseofCLD journey began. There I was, at the back door of my local Youth Club, a young 12 years old, 20 years ago!! My Youth Worker at the time worked so hard at trying to build a relationship with me and my friends to entice us all in to the world of a Youth Club and away from the streets. She managed to get some of us in for tuck shop only and then we would retreat to our usual spot at the back door for some banter. However, I remember asking the Youth Workers, “Do you get paid to do this!?” and their response was “Yes, but it’s not the only reason we do it Laura!”
They had my attention – which at that age for me was rare! I couldn’t believe they were getting paid to do something which appeared so fun, and it seemed like it wasn’t work!
As a Community Educator, I often get asked this question by young people and when I do, it still grabs my attention!

For me I didn’t feel like I fitted in to a typical box-set standard world of any form of an education setting. Education wasn’t for me when I was younger – I couldn’t apply myself and just wanted to get out and work. I never really fitted in to the learning environment of a high school, college etc. and I pretty much disengaged from any education, the systems and processes altogether. I didn’t like the environment, didn’t have the concentration – I was better at practical things that I thought I could use.

A few years later, I was asked by another Youth Worker if I wanted to get involved in some peer education work. They explained I could use some of my own experiences to educate other young people of similar age. Something inside me was triggered; the thought that I could make even a small difference in someone’s life or change the direction of at least 1 person was so powerful for me and for once I felt like I could really make a difference. People helped me identify my experiences and skills and I could then recognise and value those and that they might be useful.
I’m glad someone helped me to recognise that when things were difficult, it meant a lot that I might be able to do that for someone else, nurture and empower them to have a voice and to use it positively.

Since being involved in that pilot project, I have never looked back and have had the privilege in having numerous roles within the CLD field and off I went on a journey of self-exploration! I have had the pleasure of working in the Health & Social care setting and Community, Youth Work sector on local & national levels.

I wish I’d found CLD a bit quicker – both as a participant and a potential career. I was hungry for a career but didn’t find anything I fitted into until I found CLD. I believed in it and for the first time felt confident in my ability to deliver something.

I have always had is a strong work ethic and passion. I’m tenacious and determined and have a belief that you can achieve anything; even if things are bad. One of my favourite quotes is:

‘One of our greatest glories is in not never failing, but in rising every time we fall’ (Confucius)

It reminds me to never give up and that change is always possible!

This motivates me, and I have gone on quite a bit of a personal/professional journey before officially being able to find a place and profession that I feel a part of and can totally relate to, which is of course CLD.

What are the key CLD values and principles that have been your anchor in your various posts?

Self-determination, Inclusion, Empowerment, Collaborative Working and Promotion of lifelong learning are all fundamentals and underpin my everyday practice.

They all come very naturally to me which I believe are through experiences and I feel they ensure a cohesive approach is applied to practice.
However, for me there are three that through personal and professional experiences I can relate to the most, they are;
Self-determination, Empowerment and Promotion of Lifelong Learning.

I think it is paramount to respect individuals and their stories/journeys and support them in making their own choices. For me it is a real pleasure to work alongside individuals and communities, encouraging them to be all that they desire to be and working with them to build their confidence and self-worth up enough that they feel empowered to take control of their own journey.
I am in a very privileged position of being able to work with a range of people/organisations/communities and provide them with information on internal and external opportunities that they may not have known existed or didn’t think were accessible to them,

If you had to pick one of the Ethics, which would it be and why?

This is an extremely difficult question; as they are all so important.
Since I have been asked to pick one, I would have to go with Number 1 – Primary Client (our ‘constituent’) is the individual, group or community with whom we engage.

As a CLD practitioner, it is paramount to practice reflectively and critically and during this process I always remind myself of the Whys? For me the decisions and actions are always in partnership with the Primary Client.

How do you make time for professional development and who supports you in this?

I am so grateful to so many people for always encouraging and inspiring me daily. There are a few people who in particular really believed in me when I didn’t, and they almost had to push me when big steps or jumps were required in terms of professional development! Without them, I’m not sure it would have been possible, and I am forever grateful to them for believing in me when I didn’t.

I still cannot believe I’m about to graduate with a BA (Hons) Community Education from University of the West of Scotland.
A previous manager encouraged me to take up further education based on my work experience/knowledge. I thought there was no chance that I’d be accepted on to a university course, or that I was capable, after all I did drop out of school in 4th year.
However, I thought there’s no harm in enquiring. The discussion I had with Dr Annette Coburn (Snr Lecturer in Community Education at UWS) that day in 2015 took me to a place that I thought I would never be possible.

I was dreading Uni, but it has been the most positive experience ever and I have met some of the most amazing people ever, I never looked back!

Roll on graduation.

Describe CLD in one word.

Ooh another difficult one; I have many amazing words that would describe CLD but I would have to say Contagious!

But if I had two words the other would be – Inspiring!

What’s the best thing that’s happened this month?

There have been so many highlights this month but a stand out moment for me has got to be being able to create and facilitate a woman in construction programme in a prison setting, which is called unlocking potential. I have been able to utilise a resource that was created as part on an in-class assessment in 2nd year to support the programme – to see it coming to life was simply amazing!

I love to support individuals and/or communities that might feel isolated and do not necessarily fit in to the ‘norm’!
I will be forever grateful for my travels and experiences through the professional and personal world over the years, it’s those experiences that underpins my practice and motivates me every day – it’s great to feel at home in a profession that I 100% believe in.

If you would like to be in the spotlight – get in touch !

Scottish Charity Awards – Apply now

Scottish Charity Awards Logo 2019Applications for the Scottish Charity awards will be closing on the 25 March.

The Scottish Charity Awards highlight the best, most innovative and effective charity organisations and individuals from the past year, and celebrate those who make a difference in our communities.

The CLD Standards Council is delighted to support the Celebrating Communities award.

This award recognises the amazing work that is done all across Scotland, by small voluntary groups and grassroots organisations working with local communities and communities of interest.

There are seven other award categories – Charity of the Year, Charity Champion, Demonstrating Digital, Pioneering Project, Terrific Trustee, Leading Light and Cracking Campaign – with the winners to be decided by a panel of judges.

For full details and how to apply see –

Standards Mark Award for South East and Central Consortium

Congratulations to the South East and Central CLD Workforce Development Consortium on the award of the CLD Standards Council Standards Mark.

Committee of South East & Central CLD Professional Learning Consortium and Diann Govenlock, Chair, accepting Standards Mark Award

Committee of South East and Central CLD Workforce Development Consortium and Diann Govenlock, Chair, accepting Standards Mark Award.

The South East and Central CLD Workforce Development Consortium was established in 2011.  The Consortium consists of representatives of 8 local authorities as follows:

  • City of Edinburgh
  • Clackmannanshire
  • East Lothian
  • Midlothian
  • West Lothian
  • Falkirk
  • Scottish Borders
  • Stirling Council

The consortium demonstrated clear enthusiasm for their work and the approval panel commended them for this commitment.

Within the submission there was good clear evidence provided and demonstration of CLD values and links to national policy. The panel were also impressed with the good use of i-develop to share resources and increase accessibility.