Independent Review of the CLD Sector

The Community Learning and Development Standards Council welcomes the appointment of Kate Still to lead the Independent Review of the CLD Sector.  The CLD Standards Council is of the view that this is an appropriate time for such a review within the context of the major reforms proposed for the Scottish Education system.

CLD Standards Council members will look forward to engage actively with the Independent Review  in order to provide evidence on the key role which the CLD family, Adult Learning, Community Development and Youth Work, has to play in the further development of an effective  21st Century Lifelong Learning system which meets the needs of individuals, communities and society.

CLD Standards Council @ The Gathering 2023

Image of 5 yellow stars
Image by masadepan on Freepik

Our Five Star Review of a 5 Star Event:

Earlier this month, the CLD Standards Council were delighted to join The Gathering in Edinburgh with over three thousand people from Scotland’s third sector.  For the first time ever, we hosted our annual member conference events as part of SCVO The Gathering. We held 3 Conference Workshops and our Annual Evening Lecture where over 200 delegates took part. From our perspective, it was a five star event worthy of a five star review.

The First Minister stops by the CLD Standards Council

Dr Marion Allison, Director of the CLD Standards Council meeting the First Minister Humza Yousaf

In his keynote speech, First Minister Mr Humza Yousaf M.S.P. reflected on his positive experience of community work and the importance of communities in Scotland’s future.  We were therefore delighted when he took the time to say hello to the team at our information stall.  We were proud to showcase our work as the professional body for CLD in Scotland and give him a goody bag full of information about our workforce, members, services and impact.

CLD Researchers Shaping Practice

The body of academic research covering CLD in Scotland is alive and kicking. It was an honour to hear from Dawn Brown, Beth Parker and Laura Sutherland who not only shared their research findings but inspired the standing-room only space with their journeys and experiences of post-graduate study.  Afterwards, it was amazing to hear so many participants say “I think I’ll look into doing my Masters”.

CLD Career Pathways

With so many career options for CLD practitioners across the public and third sectors our jam-packed workshop highlighted just some of the CLD qualifications, mentoring and professional learning activities available to members. CLD practitioners from a wide range of practice areas shared their volunteering and career pathways.  In the evening, the career spotlight was most definitely on Dr Annette Coburn who delivered the CLD Annual Lecture, CLD – “Live Long and Prosper”. It was enlightening, informative, challenging and entertaining.

We took the Conference to the People

Having one CLD Standards Council annual event is never enough, so this year we tried something different and took the conference to the people.  In addition to raising the profile of CLD and promoting membership, we met with many CLD practitioners, some who were lone-practitioners working in small social enterprises or voluntary organisations. It was good to hear people saying they felt enthused and included by re-connecting with the CLD competency framework and of course the CLD Standards Council!

CLD Standards Council: More Members More Clout

From being at The Gathering and listening to participants, workshop holders and guest speakers it is clear that Scotland’s need for CLD: adult learning, CLD: community development and CLD: youth work is stronger than ever. The number of people volunteering and working across these sectors is growing alongside the demand for the CLD competency framework.  Just one of the benefits of Membership is being a voice for the CLD sector and we were delighted to welcome new members that reminded us that #BecauseOfCLD #MoreMembersMoreClout ! Join us!

Check out full details, all our conference materials and presentations on our I-develop Conference 2023 page.

Have Your Say

As CLD practitioners who deliver formal, informal and non-formal learning opportunities and accreditations to individuals and communities across Scotland, we want your views.

CLD Standards Council logo in a Blue speech bubble with the words "Have your say" underneath.

In March 2022 the Scottish Government announced that the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) would be replaced with a new qualifications body, as well as its intention to establish a new independent inspectorate (HMIe) whilst looking at how best to align education inspection with the wider inspection system.

Establishing a new qualifications body, and delivering a new approach to inspection are important steps in improving and changing the education and skills system for the better, whilst building on all that is good in Scottish education and skills. It is essential that this includes recognition of Community Learning and Development (CLD) as part of the Scottish Education system, with life wide skills and qualifications for learners of all ages and stages of life.

We will be hosting this online focus group to discuss this consultation with you, our members, so register for your place to attend our “Have Your Say” session, and you can inform and shape our response to this consultation. This session is an opportunity for members to meet with policy officers supporting this consultation, to enquire, discuss and help inform decisions on the most effective approach for reforming education inspection, including the role that any new legislation could play.
The reason for establishing a new qualifications body is to ensure that qualifications consistently meet the needs and expectations of their users, the education system, employers and everyone with a stake in qualifications and awards – including Members of the CLD Standards Council.
The new body will involve young people and learners, teachers and CLD practitioners and wider stakeholders in its decision making. It will be accountable and transparent through robust governance and other arrangements.

As the professional body for CLD practitioners in Scotland, we are specifically seeking further views on the range of establishments and services subject to inspection; the purpose and priorities for improvement of inspection; and the different possible legislative and non-legislative reform measures that can be taken to address the priority issues. Members may also wish to reflect and share views on the value which external scrutiny by HMIe provides to support the development of CLD services and workforce development.

This is a direct opportunity for Members of the CLD Standards Council to comment on the Education Bill, reflect on the CLD Regulations, raise our voice and ensure that we are included and listened to as a distinct profession that has lifelong impact on young people, adult learners, families and communities.

It is critical that, together, we submit a detailed and informed response to maximise the understanding and inclusion of CLD educators and the learning and accreditation that the CLD sector delivers across Scotland. JOIN US. Sign up on Eventbrite and you can inform and shape the response CLD Standards Council submits.

If you would like information on the Scottish Government’s Education Bill, please read the full consultation paper which offers details about the proposed new qualifications body and approaches to inspection.
You will also find links to submit your own response as an individual or from your own organisation. The more responses from CLD practitioners, the more impact we can have as a sector.

Leading CLD professional learning programme

A blue background with the title Leading CLD Programme Participant Reflections on the top left. Education Scotland and CLD Standards Council logos in the bottom right corner. 
Four speech bubbles with quotations in them.  
1 “The coaching aspect really helped me to tame my advice monster and to actively listen and give others the space to explore their issues and solutions.”   
2 “I have particularly enjoyed building my professional network. The home group activities were a really valuable way of building connections and sharing practice across different areas.”  
3 “Despite being from another professional background, it helped me recognise that I had transferrable skills and actually knew more than I realised.”  
4 “This programme has really helped me look outward more. It has impacted my own reflective practice especially regards connecting ‘on the floor’ delivery through to the context of policy.”

As part of the learning offer for leaders we are delighted to open up applications for the third Leading CLD programme for CLD leaders. Evidence suggests there is a need for systematic leadership support for CLD managers in Scotland, in line with the wider offer available to the education system. View the PLL Digital Brochure (PDF)

Facilitated by a team comprised of CLD Standards Council, Education Scotland CLD and Professional Learning and Leadership specialists, participants will engage in professional learning and reflect on their current CLD role. Programme design is based on the experience participants bring, the knowledge of experts/academics; and collaborative activities to develop new knowledge.

The programme will be of most interest to senior local authority managers responsible for CLD services, who have identified CLD leadership as an area for professional development. (This includes managers with no, or little previous experience of CLD; and those interested in developing their leadership capital and professional network). In line with previous programme development approaches, we have developed the content of the programme alongside senior CLD managers and colleagues from the Higher and Further Education sectors.

The programme will run from the beginning of February until the beginning of June, and will include four x 1 day sessions. For further information see the Leading CLD PLL Offer programme area on the Education Scotland website (currently being updated). Interested individuals are invited to apply for this opportunity by following this link to the MS Form by close of business on Friday 8th December. Leading CLD 2024 application form

If you have any questions about the offer then please contact


Education Scotland is delighted to offer a range of free 1:1 online coaching opportunities which could support your wellbeing and professional development and is tailored to individual needs.

You can read more about and sign up by following the links below:
Online Coaching for Education Scotland Workforce Support (
This includes coaching for Headteachers, Deputes and Teachers with pastoral or child protection responsibilities, Middle Leaders and CLD Managers with 4-6 hours 1:1 online coaching.

Online Coaching for Wellbeing for Education Practitioners (
This is open for all CLD practitioners, managers and leaders with 2x1hour coaching and is also open to anyone who has already benefitted from this offer previously.

Both these offerings are fully funded by the Scottish Government. If you or any of your colleagues would value this opportunity, please do sign up.

Professional Induction Programme – for members, with members, by members!

Image with the i-develop logo, Induction logo and text Professional Induction: An introduction to the purpose and functions of the CLD Standards Council and expectations of membership.

The Professional Induction Programme (PIP) was developed by CLD Standards Council members to help those joining take advantage of all the benefits available as part of CLD Standards Council membership.

Through completing our Professional Induction Programme, you will

  • Increase your awareness and understanding of
    • the purpose, functions and professional standards of the CLDSC and the requirements;
    • the benefits of membership, with particular reference to professional learning and development
    • being a member of the CLDSC;
    • the process of professional learning and development to professional practice, recognition and progression;
    • the benefits that peer support and mentoring bring to professional learning and development.
  • Produce a Professional Learning & Development (PL&D) Plan setting professional learning goals within the context of your practice and critically reflect on its development.

The Programme is split into three units:

  1. The CLD Standards Council Scotland – its Vision, Values, Code of Ethics and functions;
  2. Registration, Learning and Review;
  3. Goal Setting and Plan Development.

Each unit takes approximately 5 hours to complete.

The programme is delivered through i-develop and you’ll be allocated a course mentor. We’re delighted to welcome two new course mentors to the programme this year; Jamie Mallan and Fiona Morrison. They join John Galt, Graham Hewitson and Mike Naulty in providing support with PIP activities. All the course mentors are members of the CLD Standards Council Professional Learning Committee.

You will also be able to connect with other members who are doing the programme through our dedicated Slack channel.

The programme will begin in January 2024. If you’re interested in taking part, complete this registration form.

Diversity & Inclusion is our Strength

Black background with the word diversity written in multi coloured foam lettering
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina 🇺🇦 on Unsplash

As the professional membership body for all CLD practitioners across Scotland, we want to ensure we offer equal opportunities, prevent discrimination and support under-represented groups across our membership. We have been focusing on developing our work across Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) internally with our ED&I strategy as well as setting clear outcome measures and strengthening our equality impact assessment processes. We have also supported the development of a member led ED&I forum by listening to what you, our members, are asking of us. To continue progressing all equalities work, and to do this well, it essential we also improve our own data systems regarding the monitoring of the diversity of our members and capturing essential data that can inform and shape us as an organisation.

To help us achieve our aims the wonderful volunteers on our Registration Committee have been looking at how best to know and grow our membership, and as part of this we have developed a membership diversity monitoring form. We will be sending this out to all our current members in January 2024 and completion of this diversity monitoring form is voluntary. The collection of diversity information on all our members is essential to enable us to identify where we need to focus our resources on regarding strengthening diversity, as well as assessing the value of particular strategies, and measure our progress. It will also enable us to improve information to support workforce development and professional pathways moving forward. The collection of diversity information from January 2024 with new membership applications also enables us to see the diversity of those entering the profession as well as those members currently practising.

It is essential that we carry out this diversity monitoring exercise to help the Registration Committee identify where we need to strengthen diversity within our membership and raise the profile of the profession. Data gathered will inform our plans for promotional activity and recruitment, specifically around engaging with CLD practitioners from across the protected characteristics, as well as strengthen cultural awareness. Ultimately this will all help us collectively to support the CLD sector, as well as our members, and contribute towards making Scotland a fairer society for all to live, work and volunteer in.
Keep a look out for further information in the New Year as before we embark on gathering this data in January we will provide members with full details of the process for gathering, storing and using ED&I information, including assurances around all data gathered will be anonymous, secure and separate storage and that any information gathered will not be used to discriminate against, harass or victimise anyone but will support the understanding of our membership and help to develop stronger, more diverse CLD workforce.

Human Rights Defenders…. Are You Ready!

Some of you may already know that our development officer Vikki Carpenter offers collaboration and support to Community Development Alliance Scotland (CDAS) as an Ex Officio on their Board. Recently, at the Community Development Alliance Scotland Annual Conference some of the CLD Standards Council team were out in force supporting this fabulous annual community development event.

From Left to Right. Kirsty, Marion, Vikki and Chris, smiling whilst standing behind a table full of Standards Council goodies with a CLD Standards Council banner behind on the left.

We were working hard at our market place stall, offering our amazing goody bags whilst promoting CLD as a sector, the role of the CLD Standards Council as the professional body for the CLD, and the benefits of membership. It was marvellous to meet so many new faces and be at a conference to promote and implement community development policy and practice. What a terrific bunch of a motivated of individuals and organisations.

At the conference we were also co-facilitating a workshop on Community Development Policy and Practice: National & International Standards in Community Development. Some of you might have joined our very own Kirsty Gemmell, along with Anna Clarke from the International Association for Community Development at one of their three workshops where they were focusing on the three key standards for community work across UK and Ireland.

  1. All Ireland Standards for Community Work (PDF)
  2. Community Development National Occupational Standards (PDF)
  3. IACD International Standards for Community Development Practice (PDF)

There were some critical and informative discussions around navigation of these documents, their alignment and synchronisations, as well as the differences in implementation across the home nations. Discussions were had around navigation between documents, how they are implemented differently across the UK and Ireland, clarity and synchronisation of the 3 standards, and how they are have clear articulation connected to values. Participants also posed questions opening discussion about the importance of meaningful community engagement regarding CD policy and standards, how those consulted need to see their voice as well as the change that follows, connecting their input throughout processes, our role around climate change, human rights and being the vital but often exhausting link between grassroots and legislation/policy shapers.

There was a lot of conversations throughout the day around rights, inclusion and the role of CLD so here is a quote, given to us during the conference from Claire MacGillivray from Making Rights Real. Claire informed us that when talking about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at its launch in 1948, Eleanor Roosevelt stressed that human rights must have meaning in the ‘small places, close to home’.

“Where, after all do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home, so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. Yet they are the world of the individual person: the neighbourhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works…

Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.

E Roosevelt

You can read our response to Scottish Governments recent consultation on the proposed Human Rights Bill for Scotland.

Out of this world!

CLD Scotland Member Conference 2023 logo

Don’t forget to sign up to attend our annual CLD Standards Council Member Conference on 7 November 2023. It’s a toofur – 2 for 1 – CLD Standards Council Member Conference AND The Gathering!

More detail on our programme is below:

  • There are no Career Pathways in CLD – or are there? 
    Explore the career pathways that currently exist for CLD practitioners at all stages and identify barriers and solutions to participation.
    11am – 12pm
  • CLD research influencing practice – and vice versa!
    Presentations from CLD Standards Council members on research into key issues affecting our sector followed by questions and discussion.
    Dawn Brown (MSc) – Understanding the role of community development in supporting recovery in communities post pandemic.
    Beth Parker (MSc) – Bringing community development theories and post humanist theories together to underpin outdoor education with women.
    Laura Sutherland (PhD) – Understanding the construction and civil engineering industries’ contribution to social change through community engagement
    1.30pm – 2.30pm
  • CLD Standards Council – More Members More Clout!
    Hear from members of the CLD Standards Council Registration Committee and find out what membership is all about! Explore the work of the Standards Council and learn about all the member benefits. See how membership of this professional body for CLD in Scotland supports the promotion and recognition of the sector as a critical and valued profession.
    3pm – 4pm
  • Evening Lecture – CLD: Live Long and Prosper
    Dr Annette Coburn (University of West of Scotland) will encourage us to consider how Community Learning and Development contributes to the wellbeing economy, enhancing the chances for people to live a good life.
    4.30pm – 7pm (including networking drinks 6pm – 7pm)

Register for your place at CLD Standards Council Conference @ The Gathering.

Goodbye Summer, Hello Winter Learning Festival

A white snowflake on a teal coloured background with the words Winter Learning Festival for CLD to the side.

If there’s one reason to be happy that the nights are drawing in, it can only be the return of The Winter Learning Festival for CLD!

Organised by the regional professional learning networks, Education Scotland and CLD Standards Council, the Winter Learning Festival offers an exciting programme of free online learning for those working or volunteering in CLD.

Over the course of October to March, each regional network takes a week and offers a variety of professional learning activities. Activities are open to CLD practitioners across Scotland, so join in and get connecting with others across the country.

First up, from 30th October – 3rd November, it’s Learn North. Take a look at their programme page on I-develop to see the full range of what’s available and how to register! To whet your appetite, you can sign up for a Gaelic Who’s Who, Health Issues in the Community overview, A Journey to Youth Governance and more. And who could resist the Big Learn North Quiz Finale to round off the week?!

From 13th – 17th November, South East and Central Consortium take the lead with sessions including An Introduction to Children’s Rights in a CLD Context and Youth Voice in Forth Valley and West Lothian.

Winter Learning Festival Dates:

  • Learn North – 30 October – 3 November 2023
  • CLD Standards Council Annual Conference – 7 November 2023
  • South-East and Central Consortium – 13 – 17 November 2023
  • Education Scotland – 15 – 19 January 2024 – dates to be confirmed
  • West Alliance – 5 – 9 February 2024
  • South-West Alliance – 19 – 23 February 2024
  • Tayside and Fife Alliance – Dates to be confirmed

You will find more details about what’s on offer each week and links to register on the Winter Learning Festival I-develop page.

Oot n Aboot

At the CLD Standards Council, we try to get out and meet up with members and potential members as much as we can. We enjoy a good catch up with CLD folk and it is great to keep up to date on all the amazing Adult Learning, Community Development and Youth Work happening right across Scotland, all under the banner of CLD.

Picture of the seven people who met at Tannahill Centre, smiling and standing in a line in front of the Tannahill Centre reception area.

Vikki Carpenter, one of our Development Officers, along with Julie Beckett from the CLD team within Education Scotland recently went to visit the winners of the Education Scotland CLD award, Tannahill Community Centre at Ferguslie Park in Paisley. First impressions were that this amazing community centre was like a Tardis but sadly no David Tenant to be seen!

On the day they met with Jamie Mallan, the Business Transformation Manager of this community hub along with some of the CLD team and community members. Jamie leads a diverse team of staff, volunteers and other stakeholders to deliver services that address poverty, isolation, housing, loneliness, poor mental health, digital exclusion and educational attainment. It was clear that the local people and community organisations see this centre, and their CLD team, as the ‘go-to’ place for support and information. Innovative and creative in their response to the needs of customers and stakeholders, there is a whole host of opportunities from baby massage to a food pantry, ESOL classes and talent shows!

Picture of a group of CLD workers in a community centre sat at tables of 8 and all smiling

Vikki was also invited to be part of the CLD Team at Aberdeen City’s CPD day recently. Over 70 CLD workers attended the full day in Cummings Park in Aberdeen. The theme of the day was the CLD Competences and Vikki was delighted to get the ball rolling with a presentation on the CLD Standards Councils work. It was an extraordinary day, hearing about the inspiring, positive programmes happening right across Aberdeen city, delivered by this local authority’s Adult Learning Team, Localities Team, Communities Team, Family Learning Team, Fairer Aberdeen Team, Healthy Minds Team and Youth Work Team. It was impressive to hear about the vast amount of communities they support, as well as the volunteering opportunities and the connections across all of their teams and stakeholders to support individuals and community groups across the city.