Mince pie or Chocolate Log? Blog from Dr Marion Allison

plate of mince piesMince pie or Chocolate Log?
The question that reflects the CLD competences over 2018.

Like every workplace across the land, the CLD Standards Council cupboards are full of sweets, cakes and a traditional Christmas treat that invites debate; good old mince pies. Some people like them, some prefer chocolate logs, or some refrain altogether.  Whilst this might appear to be inane, workplace chat, the underpinning attributes of this discussion reflect some of the key matters that have influenced Community Learning and Development in Scotland over the course of 2018.

Firstly, before you buy mince pies, it is advisable to know and understand the community in which you work. In 2018 this competence inspired the CLD Standards Council to get to know its workforce.  In partnership with Education Scotland, Rocket Science were commissioned to gather views and experiences from CLD practitioners, volunteers, employers and stakeholder organisations in order to better understand current practice across the country. There were approximately 1300 online responses to the survey and over 50 follow-up, in-depth interviews. Results are expected in Spring 2019 and will inform future CLD workforce services.

Once mince pies are purchased, it is important that you build and maintain relationships with the individuals and groups involved.  This competence influenced the CLD Standards Council’s engagement with key Scottish Ministers.  Deputy First Minister, Mr John Swinney reiterated the Scottish Government’s support at our lengthy meeting in June.  We have also had the opportunity to meet with the new Minister for CLD, STEM, HE & FE,  Mr Richard Lochhead MSP, and look forward to working with him.  The continued implementation of the CLD Standards Council’s communication strategy has resulted in improved engagement with members via social media, i-develop, newsletters and of course attending and delivering learning events across the country.  One notable outcome has been increased demand for CLD learning materials; the refreshed Competent Practitioner Framework is flying off the shelves.

Having engaged and built relationships with your fellow cake-eaters, it soon becomes obvious that you need to provide learning in a range of contexts.  Some people like to eat alone, some like group outings to the coffee shop, or some prefer gathering in smaller groups around the kitchen. This year providing learning in a range of contexts consisted of financially supporting CLD Networks for the 3rd year running.  With a general focus on CLD standards, this money has allowed Members to attend and arrange learning events closer to home in subject areas that they influence and design. In March, Members overwhelmingly rated the annual conference, which was held in Dundee. Next year’s event will be on Wednesday 27th March 2019 in Glasgow so remember to save the date.

You should know, that facilitating community empowerment amongst colleagues may result in people challenging accepted methods of baking and creating bespoke recipes.  Practising this competence led to the CLD Standards Council having a seat at the National Education Leaders’ Forum.  Our attendance at the Scottish Learning Festival in September allowed us to ask International Council of Education Advisors to give due consideration to CLD in its work to influencing system change in Scotland.  In response to requests from Members, there have also been a number of professional discussions with the new Regional Improvement Collaboratives and employers across sectors regarding the recognition of CLDSC membership.

One matter that will always cause debate amongst the mince pie makers is how to best organise and manage resources. This competence was of central importance throughout the year.  2018 began with a proposal that the CLD Standards Council would co-produce and create an Education Workforce Council alongside colleagues from the General Teaching Council Scotland.  Our Members responded to the consultation in their droves and by June, the Next Steps paper made it clear that this idea was off the table. The change in direction allowed the CLD Standards Council to get back to the day job and secure, strengthen and grow the organisation.  Accordingly, recruitment to the Committees was successful in September, with Members that practise in a range of contexts from across the country choosing to get involved. For the wider sector, another outcome of the Next Steps paper was the responsibility for CLD policy moving from Education Scotland to the Scottish Government, with Members contributing to the transition process.

Overall, it’s working collaboratively that makes the mince pie / cake eating experience truly joyful. Sharing preferences, ideas and laughing with colleagues is what makes it all worthwhile.  Indeed, it is this competence that embodies the very essence of the CLD Standards Council. This year marked new and refreshed partnerships with key agencies across the United Kingdom and beyond.  Having worked in close partnership with the International Association of Community Development, the CLD Standards Council was delighted to launch the International Standards for Community Development at the World Community Development Conference in June.  In September, we were once again delighted to welcome Professor Maki Hiratsuka and her colleagues from Tokyo. Their interest lies with our CLD standards and professional practice.  As such, Approvals work has led to enhanced relationships with the college sector and the completion of approvals and mid-term reviews across professional and CLDSC Standards Mark routes.

When the mince pies have been eaten and plates are full of crumbs, that’s when people evaluate and inform future practice.  The pies could have been sweeter, we should have stuck to chocolate logs are statements that will inform future choices.  The life-long learning principle is evident as people’s tastes in mince pies and chocolate treats change and develop over time. Member engagement and continuous evaluation of our work, scope and ambitions led to a number of new initiatives this year, including the CLD Christmas Lecture. The aim of this event is to highlight CLD research in Scotland.  Over 70 Members attended the inaugural event in Glasgow. I was deeply honoured to be invited to present my doctoral research into Young People, Enterprise and Social Capital and sincerely thank Members for the warm reception and helpful feedback.  As the Year of Young People draws to a close no one can doubt that the CLD: youth work sector embraced and delivered impactful work with young people across the country, and so we are pleased to have sponsored the Scottish Youth Work Research Steering Group. Their recent report on the Impact of Community-Based Universal Youth Work in Scotland is a must read for every CLD Standards Council Member. This year highlighted quality across the sector. From SCVO, COSLA Youthlink, Herald Society Awards and everything in between; we are absolutely delighted that CLD and our Members were recognised at the highest levels and rewarded for their work.  Congratulations to nominees and winners in all categories and we look forward to working with you in the New Year.

Fundamentally the mince pie, chocolate log debate comes down to valuing self-determination and choice. For us, people are choosing to join the CLD Standards Council; by the dozen.  Our membership is continuing to grow and in one week alone we received 54 applications!

For the sake of team harmony it’s important that everyone is included in the Cake debate and has an equitable piece of the pie. The development of the CLD Standards Council relies on inclusion, particularly in times of change.  In September this year we bid a fond farewell to Mr Ashley Pringle, who was our appointed Chair for 6 years. It was a privilege to work with Ashley who steered, supported and challenged the Council in its development. Mr Mike Naulty is the Interim Co-Chair and recruitment for Ashley’s successor is now underway. Across the sector Mr Jim Sweeney M.B.E. retired from Youthlink Scotland to be succeeded by Mr Tim Frew.  Presently, Jim will continue as Co-Interim Chair of CLD Standards Council and we very much look forward to continuing our partnership with Tim. Mr Robert Hynd moved on from CLD Managers Scotland and we are delighted to be working with his successor, Ms Avril Nichol on all things CLD.  Our thanks must also go to colleagues across Education Scotland, Jackie Halawi, Brian Taylor and Gayle Gorman to name a few.

It goes without saying that the CLD Standards Council would be nothing without its Members. The team and I are indebted to the Chairs, Committee Members and the hundreds of Members across the country who shape, promote, contribute and support our Council.  On a personal note I would like to extend my thanks to everyone for your well wishes on completion of my doctorate.  Working within this vibrant sector makes it all worthwhile.

So now the cakes are finished, we look forward to the new year ahead.  Budget constraints continue to challenge yet Community Learning and Development prevails, grows and inspires thanks to the commitment of our Members. As CLD policies are refreshed and the new CLD plans unfold, maybe next year, for once, the CLD sector will be able to have its cake and eat it!

Until then I wish you all a joyful Christmas and a Happy New Year!


CLDSC 2019 Conference – Save the date

The theme of the CLD Standards Council Members 2019 conference is: The pursuit of social justice: leadership in CLD

The conference will be held on Wednesday 27 March 2019 in Glasgow.

The conference will consider how CLD practice enables people and communities to identify individual and collective goals, to engage in learning and to take action for positive change.

This will be a day of professional learning with a choice of seminars / workshops to attend, focused on:

  • Inclusion
  • Life-Long Learning
  • Communities
  • CLD Professional Learning

The Deputy First Minister, John Swinney M.S.P. will give a keynote address.

We will be opening conference booking in the new year.  Get the date in your calendar now !

Remember this is a members only conference so if you are not a member – apply for membership now !

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 –  https://applications.appointed-for-scotland.org/pages/job_search_view.aspx?jobId=1586&JobIndex=2&categoryList=&minsal=0&maxsal=150000&workingPatternList=&keywords=&PageIndex=1&Number=15

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 –https://www.research.net/r/WorkingWithScotlandsCommunitiesSurvey

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 – Kirsty.Gemmell@CLDStandardsCouncil.org.uk

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 http://concept.lib.ed.ac.uk/article/view/2849
  • Volunteering in CLD – i-develop
    Have you seen the Volunteering in CLD theme on i-develop? http://www.i-develop-cld.org.uk/course/view.php?id=108. 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 https://www.wcdc2019.org.uk/. 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 https://www.gov.scot/policies/improving-public-services/local-governance-review/

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 – https://education.gov.scot/what-we-do/scottish%20learning%20festival
  • 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: https://www.research.net/r/WorkingWithScotlandsCommunitiesSurvey

Member Statistics: Total Membership of 2119