CLDSC Member Bulletin 2 December 2020


CLD Standards Council Scotland Members’ Conference 1 and 2 December 2020

Over 130 CLDSC Standards Council members registered for our first ever digital conference. Although it would have been great to see each other face to face, there was much to learn, to talk and to laugh about and opportunities for virtual networking.

The aim of the conference was for members to consider the role of professional CLD practice in respect of Scotland’s COVID-19 experience and offered a professional learning opportunity for members to learn, share and discuss:

  • Health & wellbeing: CLD connections and motivation
  • CLD Practice: responses, planning and evaluation
  • Digital: agile or fragile?
  • CLD: Policy and workforce planning
  • Networking

Conference information and inputs can be found on the conference area on i-develop.

All of the conference inputs were underpinned by the CLD Code of Ethics. The Ethical Practice, Competent Practitioners resource has been refreshed.

Tuesday 1 December

Richard Lochhead, Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science praised the flexibility and creativity of CLD practitioners in supporting communities through the pandemic. He noted that although work on the development of the Youth Work and Adult Learning Strategies had been delayed by the pandemic, it was hoped that these would be published in the Spring and followed later in the year by a Lifelong Learning Framework which will raise the profile of CLD and promote its integration with the broader education system. He concluded by thanking the sector for their contribution and impact. Watch the video of the Minister on idevelop.

This was followed by Alan Sherry, Chair of CLDSC, who echoed the Minister’s praise of the sector’s commitment, going the extra mile…being the glue which holds communities together. Gained political capital. He described the opportunities afforded through the Leadership Group to promote recognition of the impact of CLD on national priorities. Looking ahead to CLD’s role in meeting the needs of those made unemployed for the first time, he stressed the importance of having professional qualified workers to guide and support CLD practice. He reviewed the work of CLDSC over the last year, thanking the staff team, Committee members and all the membership for their contribution.

Susie Bisset, CLDSC Team Member, got us all to share our lockdown laughs – it is safe to say ‘You’re on mute!’ featured in a few. This proved to be a good warm up for our main speaker of the afternoon.

Gavin Oattes internationally-known speaker, award winning comedian, author of several books, and Managing Director of Tree of Knowledge led a session titled ‘be the milk’. You had to be there to fully understand why we all need a Mary Poppins in our lives, why we need to plant trees we will never see and that ‘being the milk’ is about Rice Crispies!  Rice Crispies are quiet and still until you add milk then they come alive. We in CLD are the milk and our tweeters made sure the Twittersphere knows it!

“Was definitely what was needed to remind me why it’s still important to be the milk #CLDSCConf2020 #magic

“Massive thank you to @gavinoattes for an inspiring input to the @cldstandards virtual conference today. It certainly brightened this afternoon for me. #becauseofCLD #CLDSCConf2020

Wednesday 3 December

Alan Sherry, Chair of CLDSC, began the morning by sharing key points from the CLDSC paper Engaging, Educating, Connecting and Empowering.

CLDSC see this as a starting point for influencing policy and contributing to discussions on building back better after the pandemic. It expresses the view that the ‘old normal’ is neither viable nor desirable. The three pillars of Health, Economy and Education are fundamental to this. The paper highlights the importance of partnership working in creating the kind of world we would like to live in. The paper emphasises:

  • co-creation – sitting down with people to identify their needs and agreeing how to address them.
  • the importance of learning out with schools and the need for bite size tailored learning opportunities.
  • greater devolution taking more regionalised approaches, with CLD, schools colleges and higher education working together to create a seamless learner journey.

The 2 Sides of the Story session looked at CLD planning and meaningful evaluation.

Nicola McAndrew, CLD Policy Team Scottish Government spoke of the work and aspirations of the CLD Policy Team. She noted that the Adult Learning and Youth Work Strategies were back on track and it is hoped these will be completed over the next few months. Following this, a Framework for Lifelong Learning will be developed. The Framework is intended to be a blue print to support local planning, helping and influencing CLD practitioners and others who do not deliver, but are part of the wider education environment. The CLD Policy Team have strengthened connections across government to recognise the value of CLD at national level but are hopeful that the Framework will be meaningful at local level and help to improve learner journeys locally.

The publication of these documents times well with next round of new 3 years plans for CLD. The guidance for these plans is to be published next week. This draws on learning to date from previous reviews and the findings of HMI inspections.

Professor Karen McArdle then spoke about meaningful evaluation, referring to the recently-published book The Impact of Community Work, which she had co-authored with other CLDSC members.

Karen argued that CLD practitioners need to work at 3 levels – individual, community, and systems and power – and that while we are generally good at the first 2, we need to develop the 3rd, building the transformative capacity of CLD: the ability to establish institutions to carry forward positive change. “Meaningful evaluation” needs to consider both statistics and stories and clarify the scale, quality and significance of CLD work. We need to get better at expressing what we do well to policy makers, and in order to do this, we should reconsider the identity of CLD, thinking about work at the 3 levels; for example, we work on issues that are identified, interpreted and managed at local level, but that are of national and global significance.

Karen’s PowerPoint is available on the conference i-develop space.

Back to the Future let us think about the post Covid future for CLD –
Sinead Gormally, Senior Lecturer in Community Development and Adult Education at the University of Glasgow, spoke first. To try to summarise Sinead’s input is an impossible task. She provoked, inspired, challenged and motivated us. We asked delegates to pick a key piece of learning they’d take away from the Conference – many related to Sinead’s input. Here are just a few:

  • Be disruptive!
  • Ask why
  • Promote our achievements loudly
  • Be a lamp, a lighthouse, a ladder

She also read Jennifer Lentfer’s poem –  ‘Here’s to the disruptors; a poem for the development community’

Sinead was followed by Dominique Carlisle-Kitz and Kevin Ditcham. Dominique is Strategic Services Senior Lead in East Renfrewshire Council and she spoke about the Peer Mentoring relationship that had evolved between herself and her colleague, Sue Briggs. They had both got a lot out of the relationship and wanted to share the idea with colleagues.

Peer Mentoring is part of a suite of processes Supporting Professional Learning Together. This also includes CLDSC Connectors, CLDSC Buddies and CLDSC Professional Learning Verifiers. Find further information about these on the Supporting PL Together space on i-develop.

Kevin Ditcham, Network and Delivery Manager at Democratic Society and Co-chair of the Feeling Strong charity, led us into a discussion about the Virtual Meet up’s which create an opportunity for CLDSC members to come together informally to share and reflect on their practice experiences. There have been 7 meet ups to date, engaging 289 members. Kevin facilitated members to give their views on whether the meet-ups were valued, useful and sustainable in their current form, as well as how to get more members interested in hosting and practical ways to do this that work for members

The PowerPoint from Dominique and Kevin can be viewed on the i-develop conference page.

Alan highlighted that Sinead had challenged us to be ready to challenge and disrupt restrictive structures, power relationships and practices, and that Dominique and Kevin had introduced some of the ways that the CLDSC is working to enable practitioners to support each other to do this. He invited people to explore how this might work for them and discussion in smaller groups proved a valuable experience.

Our conference was well received by delegates who shared their thoughts in this word cloud.

word cloud of feedback from delegates