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The Current Context for Community Development: SSEC Response

Tuesday 31st August 2016, 13:08

Huge thanks to SSEC members Gary Craig, Shamsher Chohan, Andrew Pilley, Sheila Whittle, Joe Taylor, David Randall, Sue Shaw, Mark Woodhead, Theresa Kennedy, Gabriel Chanan, Colin Miller and Val Woodward for sending in your comments on The Current Context for Community Development, the CDF Panel Paper One. I have compiled a (rather lengthy) SSEC response to the paper (PDF, 129KB) which includes your comments.

For SSEC blog readers with little time or who are not fans of pages and pages of reading, I’ve helpfully extracted the key points and included them handily in this blog post:

  • Panel Paper One was welcomed and highlighted issues which we could relate to.
  • We feel that there is a need for the process to draw on a wider evidence base (outside of CDF related research) and would welcome more critical perspectives being presented in the panel papers.
  • We felt that a huge gap in the first panel paper was that there was no mention of CD values.
  • There is interesting work occurring in relation to an asset based approach - perhaps for further discussion in relation to the second panel paper.
  • There is a lot of work taking place to build the skills, confidence and understanding of non-CD officers in the public sector, using CD approaches. This is important to us and is part of CD work today.
  • The panel should think more widely that CDF have done in paper one in relation to what constitutes the CD field. The focus on the CDF survey of workers and managers is misleading and ignores a lot of volunteer and community activist views.
  • It could be a good think that there is now strategic co-ordination of CD! But we would like more networking.
  • We challenge the claim in paper one that ‘throughout the New Labour period, CD practice has become more aligned to government policy priorities’.
  • We think that there is a lot more activity around evaluation than the paper suggests.
  • We agree with issues raised in the paper around CD skills and training.
  • We share concerns with other panel members in relation to individualisation, markets, the state and civil society.

I have also made a request to CDF and the panel to tease out key questions for wider debate. This is so that we can better involve you, our lovely SSEC members and blog readers in the discussions.

For anyone who is keen and interested and doesn’t mind a few pages of reading, SSEC member Professor Gary Craig’s letter (PDF, 31KB) in response the panel is well worth a read and you may also find it helpful to see the updated biographies of panel members (PDF, 293KB), who I will meet at our first face-to-face panel meeting on 17 September.

I’m expecting panel paper two this week, and will be posting one these pages as soon as I get it.

Lorna Prescott, SSEC Chair

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