Community empowerment is a priority in Scotland - 5 principles published
What is community empowerment?
Community empowerment processes support people to do things for themselves and enable people to take control over the decisions and factors that affect their lives and communities.
There is no one standard definition of community empowerment. The World Health Organisation describes community empowerment as: ‘the process of enabling communities to increase control over their lives.’ Similarly, the Scottish Government defines community empowerment as: ‘a process where people work together to make change happen in their communities by having more power and influence over what matters to them.’ Communities may be geographically located, or they may share common interests, concerns or identities.
Under the direction of the Strategic Scrutiny Group an advisory group was established to ensure that public service providers have a shared understanding of what is meant by community empowerment and a document has just been published setting out the 5 Principles of community empowerment:
Community control - Support communities to successfully take more control over decisions and assets
Public sector leadership- Strong and clear leadership on community empowerment sets the tone and culture of the organisation
Effective relationships - Build effective working relationships between public bodies, local communities and local partners
Improving outcomes - Evaluate whether outcomes for local communities are improving and inequalities are being reduced
Accountability - Be accountable and transparent
The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 requires community planning partners to secure the participation of community bodies in community planning, in particular those that represent the interests of people who experience inequalities of outcome from socio-economic disadvantage. All Public bodies are now required to collaborate with partners, with the third sector and with communities, to think differently about how services are delivered and funded. Not taking any action is no longer an option.
Community empowerment is a gradual process which involves continual learning and the constant building of a community’s capacity to articulate and address their priorities. It also involves communities having greater influence and input to decision-making. Everyone in the community now has a right to be heard and FVA would encourage everyone to be involved that will ultimately reduce inequalities and improve wellbeing and this document can be used as a tool to support you to do this.