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Jargon Buster

A4A - Awards for All

A Lottery grants programme aimed at local communities.

ABCD - Achieving Better Community Development

A training and evaluation programme devised by CDF in England and SCDC in Scotland. It provides a framework for understanding community development, and a model for planning and evaluating CD

ABCD - Asset-Based Community Development

Capacity-focused development - concentrating on what communities have (e.g. local skills, talents and resources) rather than what they need. Initially an idea from the United States, it is being applied in the UK by the Scarman Trust and has been the subject of a document by the Building and Social Housing Foundation (BSHF).

ABI - Area Based Initiative

Government initiative targeted on areas of social or economic disadvantage, which aims to improve the quality of life of residents.

Adventure Capital Fund

A funder for community enterprise, offering both financial investment, including loans and grants, and expert support including mentoring.

AGM - Annual General Meeting


ALMO - Arms Length Management Organisation

A board of tenants, leaseholders, councillors and independent experts which manage and repair the council housing stock on the local authority’s behalf.

AM - Assembly Member


ASPB - Assembly Sponsored Public Body

The equivalent of an Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) in Wales.

Asset Transfer

A process by which local assets (usually buildings) currently or formerly managed by local public bodies are handed over to the community to manage.

BCD - Black and Culturally Diverse


BID - Business Improvement District

Part of an urban area which has a partnership agreement between a local authority and local businesses in order to improve services such as street cleaning, landscaping or crime reduction.

BME - Black and Minority Ethnic


BSA - Basic Skills Agency

National agency for basic skills in England and Wales, supported and funded by the government.

BSL - British Sign Language


CAB - Citizens Advice Bureau

Local service which offers free, confidential, impartial and independent advice, including debt and consumer issues, benefits, housing, legal matters, employment, and immigration.


A non-departmental public body that invests funding in support organisations for the third sector.

CBI - Confederation of British Industry

UK business' lobbying, advice and networking organisation.

CBO - Community Based Organisation

This acronym tends to appear in international contexts.

CCP - Community Care Plan

Local authority strategy for meeting the care needs of people who have physical or mental disabilities as a result of aging, illness, or injury.

CCR - Cross Cutting Review

Government initiative/strategy which is not the responsibility of one department but can cut across a wide range of departments and agencies, such as 'The Role of the Voluntary and Community Sector in Service Delivery'.

CD - Community Development


CDL - Community Development Learning


CDW - Community Development Worker


CED - Community Economic Development


CEO - Chief Executive Officer


CFO - Co-Financing Organisation

An intermediary public body which tops up grants from the European Social Fund (ESF) to give 100% awards.

CO - Chief Officer



Working together to identify and implement action, based on mutual respect of diverse cultures and contributions.


'Organisation or business owned wholly by its employees or stakeholders, where the emphasis is on group decision making, usually on a one member, one vote system. Credit unions are an example of banking cooperatives.'Source: Society Guardian Glossary

COI - Central Office of Information

The government's communication expert, offering consultancy, procurement and project management across a wide range of communication and publicity services for public sector clients.

Communities and Local Government

A government department which aims to foster prosperous and cohesive communities, offering a safe, healthy and sustainable environment for all. Information about activities and policies. It sets policy on local government, housing, urban regeneration, planning and fire and rescue.


The web of personal relationships, groups, networks, traditions and patterns of behaviour that exist amongst those who share physical neighbourhoods, socio-economic conditions or common understandings and interests.

Community action (sometimes referred to as social action)

'Campaigning tactics of community groups that are in disagreement with an official agency. Tactics include demonstrations, public meetings and using the media.'Source: Developing Healthier Communities training book, Health Development Agency

Community Activists

People who are active on a voluntary basis in the development of their communities.

Community anchors

Independent community led organisations with multi-purpose functions, which provide a focal point for local communities and community organisations, and for community services. They often own and manage community assets, and support small community organisations to reach out across the community.

Community Capacity Building

This supports individuals, groups and organisations to enable them to play a part in the regeneration of communities. It is about building skills and competencies and is increasingly being used amongst policy makers and managers to increase their understanding of communities.

Community Council

'Locally-based charities or voluntary groups that have an interest in the well-being of their community. They consult the local community and make known to public bodies the views of local people on all matters affecting them. Local authorities have a duty to consult community councils on how local services are delivered and other issues affecting their neighbourhoods. Community councils are arranged according to issues in local areas. For example, local community health councils and rural community councils.'Source: Society Guardian Glossary

Community Development Learning

'Takes place when individuals and groups/organisations come together to share experience, learn from each other, and develop their skills, knowledge and self-confidence. It is a developmental process that is both a collective and individual experience, based on a commitment to equal partnership between all those involved to enable a sharing of skills, awareness, knowledge, and experience in order to bring about sustainable desired outcomes.'Source: Federation of Community Development Learning

Community Enterprise

Combines community-led action with business activities aimed at economic development and social gain. Community enterprises have explicit social aims and are accountable to their communities. They are independent but work in partnership with others.

Community Governance

'The involvement of local people and organisations in the way that government and public services are run in their area. It can range from standing for election to parish or district councils, to providing community managed services, or just having a say in local decisions.'Source: Society Guardian Glossary

Community Groups and Organisations

These are located within communities of geography or interest. They are controlled by their users and are usually small and informal with no paid staff. They are often referred to collectively as the community sector.

Community Involvement

This is about involvement in community activities in a variety of different ways. Community involvement often starts with agendas and programmes that originate outside the community.

Community Participation

This is about enabling people to become active partners in the regeneration of communities by contributing and sharing in the decisions that affect their lives. Participation should enable people to have a degree of power and control in the processes with which they are involved.

Community Sector

'Those organisations active on a local or community level, usually small, modestly funded and largely dependent on voluntary, rather than paid, effort. Can be seen as distinct from the larger, professionally staffed agencies which are most visible in voluntary sector profiles. Hence the phrase 'voluntary and community sector' to encompass the full range.'Source:

Community Workers

These people undertake community development as their main role. They work in accordance with recognised occupational standards. They may focus on specific issues with communities, e.g. health, or have a generic brief.


Agreement between the Government and the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS) made in 1998. It is designed to improve their relationship for mutual advantage.

COSLA - Convention of Scottish Local Authorities

The representative voice of Scottish local government. Also acts as the employers' association on behalf of all Scottish councils, negotiating salaries, wages and conditions of service for local government employees with the relevant trade unions.

CP - Community Participation


CPPIH - Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health

Non-departmental public body (NDPB), sponsored by the Department of Health (DoH) to ensure that the public is involved in decision making about health and health services.

CRB - Criminal Records Bureau

Executive agency of the Home Office, set up to help organisations make safer recruitment decisions by providing wider access to criminal record information.

Credit Union - Credit Union

A financial cooperative, which is owned and controlled by its members.  Usually based in local areas, members make regular contributions to the credit union, which is then able to make very cheap, small-scale loans to other members - usually for ethically sound or sustainable projects.

CSA - Child Support Agency

Executive agency of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), responsible for child maintenance and ensuring that parents who live apart meet their financial responsibilities to their children.

CSC - Community Sector Coalition

A network (of which SSEC is a member) that ‘aims to be a credible and authoritative independent voice for the community sector’Source: Community Sector Coalition

CVS - Council for Voluntary Service

A voluntary organisation set up, owned and run by local groups to support, promote and develop local voluntary and community action. CVS support their members by providing them with a range of services and by acting as a voice for the local voluntary and community sector. May also be referred to as Voluntary Action, a Voluntary Sector Council (VSC), or a Local Infrastructure Organisation (LIO). Their national body is NAVCA.

DAAT - Drug and Alcohol Action Team

Multi-agency partnership responsible for the development of the local drug strategy within each local authority in England.

DBERR - Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform

Government department which brings together functions from the former Department of Trade and Industry, including responsibilities for productivity, business relations, energy, competition and consumers, with the Better Regulation Executive (BRE), previously part of the Cabinet Office.

DCA - Department for Constitutional Affairs

Government department responsible for upholding justice, rights and democracy.

DCLG - Department for Communities and Local Government

Communities and Local Government sets UK policy on local government, housing, urban regeneration, planning and fire and rescue. It has responsibility for all race equality and community cohesion related issues across Great Britain and for building regulations, fire safety and some housing issues in England and Wales.

DCMS - Department of Culture, Media and Sport

Government department aiming to improve the quality of life for all through cultural and sporting activities, and to champion the tourism, creative and leisure industries.

DCSF - Department for Children, Schools and Families

Government department that aims to enable all children and young people to reach their full potential. The department will lead work across Government to improve outcomes for children, including work on children’s health and child poverty.

DDA - Disability Discrimination Act

Government law giving disabled people throughout the UK rights in the areas of employment; access to goods, facilities and services; and buying or renting land or property.

Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Government department working for sustainable development, whose remit includes sustainable use of natural resources; economic prosperity through sustainable farming; and protecting and enhancing rural communities.

DEL - Departmental Expenditure Limit

Term for expenditure levels for government departments set out in the Spending Review (SR) for a three-year period.

DFG - Disabled Facilities Grant

A mandatory grant from local authorities to help adapt properties to suit people with disabilities.

DfID - Department for International Development

Government department whose aim is to reduce global poverty and promote sustainable development, in particular through achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDG).

DfT - Department for Transport

Government department which oversees the delivery of a reliable, safe and secure transport system that responds efficiently to the needs of individuals and business whilst safeguarding the environment.

DH/DoH - Department of Health

Government department with a remit to improve the health and wellbeing of people in England.

DHN - Democratic Health Network

A subscription-based network, set up by the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) to provide policy advice, information, research, and a forum for the exchange of good practice on the developing relationship between local government and health.

DIUS - Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills

The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (DIUS) brings together functions from the former Department of Trade and Industry, including responsibilities for science and innovation, with further and higher education and skills, previously part of the Department for Education and Skills.

DWP - Department for Work and Pensions

Government department responsible for the welfare reform agenda.

EAGGF - European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund

One of four Structural Funds designed to reduce inequalities and strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union.

EAPN - European Anti Poverty Network

An independent coalition of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and groups involved in the fight against poverty and social exclusion in the member states of the European Union.

EAZ - Education Action Zone

Local partnership bodies established to raise standards and innovate in groups of schools in disadvantaged areas in England.

EC - European Commission

The driving force or civil service in the European Union's institutional system.

EC - Executive Committee

The governing body of a charity, responsible for controlling the management and administration of the organisation. Can also be called a trustee board, management committee, or council.

ECF - English Cities Fund

A scheme aimed at attracting private sector funds into neglected cities in England.

EHRC - Equalities and Human Rights Commission

A non-departmental public body (NDPB) working to eliminate discrimination in the UK. Amalgamation of three previous organisations: Commission for Race Equality; Disability Rights Commission and Equal Opportunities Commission.

EMU - Economic and Monetary Union

The process of harmonising the economic and monetary policies of the member states of the European Union with a view to the introduction of a single currency, the euro.


Challenging the attitudes of individuals, and the practices of institutions and society, which discriminate against and marginalise people.

ERDF - European Regional Development Fund

One of four Structural Funds designed to reduce inequalities and strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union.

ESF - European Social Fund

One of four Structural Funds designed to reduce inequalities and strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union.

ESFD - European Social Fund Division

The part of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) with overall responsibility for administering the European Social Fund.

ESV - Employer Supported Volunteering

Term for when employers encourage their staff to volunteer their time and skills to causes and groups that interest them.

ETF - Environmental Task Force

New Deal (ND) option from Jobcentre Plus, which provides young people with new skills and work experiences in settings which also bring tangible environmental benefits to communities.

EU - European Union

The 'family' of democratic European countries (member states), committed to working together for peace and prosperity.

FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions


FE - Further Education


FIFG - Financial Instrument for Fisheries Guidance

One of four Structural Funds designed to reduce inequalities and strengthen economic and social cohesion in the European Union.

Four Nations

Term to describe the collective area of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Many prefer this term over United Kingdom (UK) as it is less imperialistic and does not imply that England is the centre of power.

FSO - Forum Support Organisation

Not-for-profit organisations that are being contracted through a competitive tendering process to support National Health Service (NHS) Patients.

GAYE - Give As You Earn

Payroll giving scheme administered by Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) which means any employee or pensioner paid under Pay As You Earn (PAYE) can donate to a charitable organisation in the UK.

GNVQ - General National Vocational Qualification


GOE (GO-East) - Government Office for the East of England

GOEM - Government Office for the East Midlands

GOL (GO-London) - Government Office for London

GONE - Government Office for the North East

GONW - Government Office for The North West

GOSE - Government Office for the South East

GOSW - Government Office for the South West

GOWM - Government Office for the West Midlands

GOYH - Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber

GP - General Practice / Practitioner

The first point of contact for most medical services - GPs look after the health of people in their local community and deal with a whole range of health problems.

Grassroots Grants

A £130 million grants programme running from 2008 – 2018 and co-ordinated nationally by the Community Development Foundation. There is an £80 million small grants fund for community organisations together with £50 million to enable local funders to pull in other money to build up endowments for sustainable funding.

GSCC - General Social Care Council

The social care workforce regulator.

HA - Housing Association

The main providers of new social housing. They are run as businesses but do not trade for profit, with any surplus being ploughed back into the organisation to maintain existing homes and to help finance new ones.

HAZ - Health Action Zone

Partnership between the National Helath Service (NHS), local authorities, community groups and the voluntary and business sectors.

HE - Higher Education


HIMP - Health Improvement and Modernisation Plan

Local plan for improving health and health services and to reducing inequalities in health. They are partnership ventures with local authorities and a wide range of other local agencies and communities.

HLC - Healthy Living Centre

A lottery-funded programme which targets areas and groups that represent the most disadvantaged sectors of the population. Projects include smoking cessation, dietary advice, health screening programmes, and complementary therapy.

HLF - Heritage Lottery Fund

Distributes money from the National Lottery to support a wide range of projects involving the local, regional and national heritage of the UK.

HMT - Her Majesty's Treasury

Government department responsible for financial affairs in England and Wales.

HO - Home Office

Government department responsible for internal affairs in England and Wales.

Homes and Communities Agency

A new housing and regeneration agency for England, bring together English Partnerships, the Housing Corporation, the Academy for Sustainable Communities and other key housing and regeneration programmes.

HR - Human Resources


HRD - Human Resource Development


HSC - Health and Safety Commission

Statutory non-departmental public body (NDPB) responsible for the regulation of risks to health and safety arising from work activity in Britain. Oversees the HSE.

HSE - Health and Safety Executive

Statutory non-departmental public body (NDPB) which helps the HSC ensure that risks to people's health and safety from work activities are properly controlled.

IAVE - International Association for Volunteer Effort

An international non-governmental organisation that promotes, celebrates, and strengthens volunteerism worldwide.

ICA - Institute of Cultural Affairs

A global network of private, non-profit, non-governmental organisations 'concerned with the human factor in world development'. It works to develop, test and demonstrate effective approaches to personal, organisational and social transformation.

ICAS - Independent Complaints Advocacy Services

Service provided by the Primary Care Trust (PCT) Patients Forum (PF) to provide support to those wishing to make a formal complaint about National Health Services (NHS) services.

ICT - Information and Communication Technology


IiP - Investors in People

The national quality Standard which sets a level of good practice for improving an organisation's performance through its people.

ILAF - Independent Local Advisory Forum

Forum for Health Authorities to consult with local people so that patients and the public can have their say about the whole of their local National Health Service (NHS), including the strategic development of services.

ILO - International Labour Organisation

United Nations (UN) agency which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognised human and labour rights.

ILP - Independent Living Project

Term for an organisation which provides information and services for disabled people, their families and carers.

IND - Immigration and Nationality Directorate

Section within the government's Home Office, responsible for immigration control, citizenship and asylum.

IPPC - Independent Police Complaints Commission

The organisation that has overall responsibility for the system for complaints against the police.

ISP - Internet Service Provider


JCB - Joint Commissioning Board

Partnership that allows health and social services to work together to jointly plan and purchase services.

JIP - Joint Investment Plan / Programme

Plans for purchasing care services jointly, produced by health authorities and local authorities as well as other key agencies and representatives of service users and carers.

JSA - Job Seekers' Allowance

Unemployment benefit paid by Jobcentre Plus, part of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Key Performance Indicator

Financial and non-financial metrics used to help an organization define and measure progress toward organizational goals. KPIs are frequently used to "value" difficult to measure activities such as the benefits of leadership development, engagement, service, and satisfaction.

LA - Local Authority

Regional council, often know as city, county, metropolitan, unitary, borough or district councils.

LA21 - Local Agenda 21

A strategy which local authorities are required to produce to show how they will work with their communities to achieve sustainable, environmentally friendly development.

LAA - Local Area Agreements

Statutory three year agreements, between central government and local authorities and their partners, setting out the action they will undertake to achieve the goals in the Sustainable Community Strategy and deliver national outcomes in a way that reflects local priorities.

LCHO - Low Cost Home Ownership

Describes a variety of initiatives funded by the Housing Corporation that help people buy or partially buy their own homes.

LDA - Local Development Agency

Generic term for voluntary organisations, such as Councils for Voluntary Service (CVS), Rural Community Councils (RCCs) and Volunteer Bureaux (VBs), whose role is to support the work and development of other voluntary organisations in their area.

LEA - Local Education Authority

Council department responsible for delivering primary and secondary education locally.

LEAP - Learning Evaluation And Planning

A practical toolkit for integrating planning and evaluation for community learning, community health, volunteering and other community activities, used most extensively across Scotland.

LFS - Labour Force Survey

A quarterly sample survey of households living at private addresses in Great Britain carried out by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on behalf of the government.  Its purpose is to provide information on the UK labour market that can then be used to develop, manage, evaluate and report on labour market policies.

LGA - Local Government Association

Works with and for the local authorities of England and Wales to realise a shared vision of local government that enables local people to shape a distinctive and better future for their locality and its communities.

LGB - Lesbian Gay and Bisexual


LGBT - Lesbian Gay, Bisexual and Transgender


LGIU - Local Governmant Information Unit

An independent policy and research think-tank supported by over 150 councils and the local government trade unions.  It provides an information, advice, training and lobbying service, representing the interests of local authorities and supporting them in delivering excellent results for their communities.

LHB - Local Health Board

The primary care organisation in Wales replacing the Local Health Group (LHG) in 2003. 

LHC - Local Housing Company

A social landlord set up to take over former council homes.  It is distinguished from a housing association (HA) by the high proportion of tenants and councillors on its board.

LHCG - Local Health Care Group

The primary care organisation in Scotland.

LIO - Local Infrastructure Organisation

A voluntary organisation which is set up, owned and run by local groups to support, promote and develop local voluntary and community action.  Also often known as Councils for Voluntary Service (CVS). 

LIT/LIG - Local Implementation Team/Group

The group charged with setting up and steering the local National Service Framework (NSF) agenda.  It consists of representatives from health and social services, mostly at management level.

LMC - Local Medical Committee

Statutory representative body for all GPs in a particular area.  NHS authorities must consult the LMC on issues ranging from GP terms of service to investigations into professional conduct.

LPSA - Local Public Service Agreement

A voluntary agreement negotiated between an individual local authority and the government.  Their overall aim is to improve delivery of local services through a greater focus on outcomes.  Also known as Local PSA.

LSC - Learning and Skills Council

Responsible for funding and planning education and training for over 16 year olds in England.

LSC - Legal Services Commission

An executive non-departmental public body (NDPB) responsible for the development and administration of the Community Legal Service and the Criminal Defence Service in England and Wales.

LSDA - Learning and Skills Development Agency

Strategic national resource for the development of policy and practice in post-16 education and training.  The Agency was previously known as the Further Education Department Agency (FEDA).

LSP - Local Strategic Partnership

Partnership body bringing together public, private and voluntary sector service providers with the community and business sectors to help co-ordinate national and local initiatives to improve people's quality of life.

LSVT - Large Scale Voluntary Transfer

The selling off of council homes to a housing association (HA) following the successful ballot of the tenants involved.


'The process of transferring policy, good practice or activity from area- based initiatives or special programmes into the core of mainstream service provision'

Source: The Revision of Area Based Initiatives by the Regional Co-ordination Unit

MDG - Millennium Development Goals

International development targets set out by the United Nations (UN) Millennium summit in 2000, and which are the remit of the Department for International Development (DfID) in the UK.

MEP - Member of European Parliament


MEVS - Minority Ethnic Voluntary Sector


MP - Member of Parliament


Multi-area Agreements

Cross boundary local area agreements (LAA).  They bring together key players in flexible ways to tackle issues that are best addressed in a partnership - at a regional and sub-regional level.  The major issues that MAAs can tackle include skills deficits, housing market imbalances, transport and infrastructure projects and economic development.

MV - Millennium Volunteers

Government-funded initiative aiming to increase volunteering amongst young people in the UK aged 16-24.

NatPaCT - National Primary and Care Trust Development Programme

Part of the National Health Service (NHS) Modernisation Agency, it provides organisational development support to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs).

NCB - National Children's Bureau

A nationally recognised authority on policy, research and best practice relating to children and young people in England and Northern Ireland.

NCVO - National Council for Voluntary Organisations

Works with and for the voluntary sector in England by providing information, advice and support and by representing the views of the sector to government and policy-makers.

ND - New Deal

A key part of the government's strategy to get people off benefits and into work.  It matches unemployed people to work placements to help them develop skills and experience.  Options include New Deal for Young People (NDYP), Environmental Task Force (ETF) and Voluntary Sector Option (VSO).

NDC - New Deal for Communities

Programme in the Government's strategy to tackle multiple deprivation in the most deprived neighbourhoods in the country, aiming to give some of the poorest communities the resources to tackle their problems in an intensive and co-ordinated way

NDPB - Non Departmental Public Body

A body which has a role in the processes of national government, but is not a government department or part of one, and which accordingly operates to a greater or lesser extent at arm's length from Ministers - e.g.  The Audit Commission and The Health and Safety Executive.  Can also be referred to as a quango.

NDYP - New Deal for Young People

One of a number of New Deal (ND) programmes delivered by Jobcentre Plus.  It aims to improve the employability of young people, aged 18-24, by providing work experience, training and job search skills

NEP - National Empowerment Partnership

A partnership to support the Government's mission to increase levels of participation at local, regional and national levels.  the NEP aims to improve the quality, co-ordination and evidence of empowerment across England.

NFP - Not for profit


NGO - Non Governmental Organisation


NHS - National Health Service

Set up in 1948 to provide healthcare for all citizens in the UK, based on need, not the ability to pay.  It is made up of a wide range of health professionals, support workers and organisations.

NHS LIFT - Local Improvement Finance Trust

A private limited company set up by the National Health Service (NHS) and private sector property developers under the public-private partnership initiative (PPP) in order to fund, replace and refurbish primary care premises in England.

NHSE - National Health Service Executive

The top level of administration of the National Health Service (NHS)

NI - National Insurance

Tax collected from income earners in the UK to provide funds for the provision of welfare benefits such as retirement pensions, maternity pay and sickness and unemployment benefits.

NI4 - National Indicator 4

The percentage of people who feel they can influence decisions in their locality.  NI4 forms part of the 198 indicators which form the National Indicator Set on which central government will performance manage local government.

NI4 Delivery Group

Convened by CLGs Empowerment Division to oversee progress against achieving National Indicator 4 and also help CLG co-ordinate the empowerment programmes they are supporting including NEP, Asset Transfer, Participatory Budgeting and the Network of Empowering Authorities.

NICE - National Institute of Clinical Excellence

A partnership between the Department of Health (DoH), the National Health Service (NHS), health professionals and patients, to promote the highest quality of treatment and technology in the NHS and the cost effectiveness of NHS services.

NIEP/RIEP - National/Regional Improvement and Efficiency Partnerships

Help councils deliver the ambitious outcomes, set through local area agreements (LAAs), by supporting them in their efforts to become more efficient, innovative and engaged with citizens.  NIEPs harness the expertise of councils to add new capacity to local government in order to accelerate the drive for greater improvement and efficiency.  They build on the successful foundations laid by the former Regional Improvement Partnerships and Regional Centres of Excellence.

NIMBY - Not in my back yard

'Describes the strong personal interests of individuals that can conflict with the needs of a marginalised group within a community - for example, residents who oppose a halfway house for people recovering from mental illness'.

Source: Developing Healthier Communities training book, Health Development Agency


NOCN - National Open College Network

The UK's provider of accreditation services for adult learning.

NOS - National Occupational Standards

Statements of competence written to measure performance outcomes at work. Developed by representatives of each occupational area, they form the basis of the National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ)/ Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQ).

NPS - National Probation Service

Section within the government's Home Office, committed to minimising the impact of crime on communities, the rehabilitation of offenders, and probation.

NR - Neighbourhood Renewal

' ... is about reversing the spiral of decline.  It is about working from the grassroots to deliver economic prosperity and jobs, safer communities, good education, decent housing, physical environment as well as fostering a new sense of community amongst residents'

Source: Neighbourhood Renewal Unit

NRF - Neighbourhood Renewal Fund

Funding from the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit (NRU) aiming to improve services and reduce inequalities in the 88 most deprived authorities in England, in collaboration with their Local Strategic Partnership (LSP).

NRS - Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy

Local government strategy developed to enable the area, through the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP), to address deprivation and social exclusion according to the government's National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal (NSNR).

NRU - Neighbourhood Renewal Unit

Government unit responsible for driving progress across government in the area of neighbourhood renewal.

NSF - National Service Framework

National Health Service (NHS) strategy to help establish clear national standards for services.  There are NSFs for coronary heart disease, mental health, older people, children, diabetes, renal services and the NHS Cancer Plan.

NSNR - National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal

Strategy from the Neighbourhood Renewal Unit (NRU) setting out the government's vision for narrowing the gap between deprived neighbourhoods and the rest of the country, so that within 10-20 years, no-one should be seriously disadvantaged by where they live.

NSSP - National Support Services Programme

A programme for VCS support providers (infrastructure organisations including community anchors) which will enable them to champion excellence in leadership across the voluntary and particularly community sector.  The Leadership and Governance programme will be delivered by a partnership of NCVO, CSC and ACEVO. 

NVQ - National Vocational Qualification

Work-related nationally recognised qualification, based upon national occupational standards (NOS).

OCN - Open College Network


ODPM - Office of the Deputy Prime Minister

Now disbanded with many responsibilities sitting with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)

OFSTED - Office for Standards in Education

Non-ministerial government department aiming to help improve the quality and standards of education and childcare through independent inspection and regulation.

OLAF - European Anti-Fraud Office

Provides support to European Union (EU) member states in fighting fraud as well as carrying out investigations into suspected fraud.

ONS - Office for National Statistics

Collects and distributes official UK statistics on behalf of the government, including the Census and the Labour Force Survey (LFS).

OSC - Overview and Scrutiny Committee

Optional board run by local councils to scrutinise local health and related services.  They have the power to refer major concerns to the Secretary of State for Health.

OTS - Office of the Third Sector

Formed from the work of the former Active Communities Directorate within the Home and Social Enterprise Unit to support a thriving sector and bring together sector-related work from across government.

OU - Open University

Distance-learning university in the UK

OWW - One World Week

A development education programme, which oversees a week of events each year in October to raise awareness about what's going on in the world and take action on injustice, poverty and degradation.

Parish Plans

A form of Community Led Plan which determines the future of communities and how they can change for the better.  They are documents that set out a vision for the future of a parish and outlines how that can be achieved in an Action Plan.

Participatory Budgeting

Directly involving local people in making decisions on the spending priorities for a defined public budget.  This means engaging residents and community groups representative of all parts of the community to discuss spending priorities, making spending  proposals and vote on them, as well as giving local people a role in the scrutiny and monitoring of the process. 


Structures that exist to deliver programmes.  They bring together a number of formal organisations, for example statutory authorities, private companies and voluntary organisations.  It has been unusual for community sector groups or organisations to be represented, although there are now attempts to include community interests.

PAT - Policy Action Team

Government policy-making team set up by the Social Exclusion Unit (SEU) to provide the basis for the National Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal (NSNR).

PAYE - Pay As You Earn

Scheme where an employer takes tax from weekly or monthly earnings and pays it over to the Inland Revenue.

PCO - Primary Care Organisation

Generic term for an organisation responsible for initial health care, such as GP practices and non-hospital based NHS services.  PCOs are managed by the local PCT in England the LHB in Wales and the LHCB in Scotland.

PCT - Primary Care Trust

Local health organisations responsible for managing primary care services in the local area.  They work with local authorities and other agencies that provide health and social care locally to make sure the community's needs are being met.

PDF - Portable Document Format

A universal file format, created by software company Adobe, that is often used for documents on the web.  It reduces the size of large files, is searchable, and preserves the original layout of any document.

PFI - Private Finance Initiative

A form of leasing where public authorities pay charges for buildings and services (such as hospitals, schools, prisons and roads) over 25 or 30 years rather than borrowing money to pay for the building.

Political Participation

Facilitating democratic involvement by people in the issues which affect their lives, based on full citizenship, autonomy and shared power, skills, knowledge and experience.

PPI - Patient and Public Involvement

National Health Service (NHS) term for enabling patients to be as involved as they want to be in decisions about their care and enabling communities to be involved in their local health service.

PPIF - Patient and Public Involvement Forum

Independent statutory body in every National Health Service (NHS) Trust and Primary Care Trust (PCT), which monitors and reviews local services and the effectiveness of Patient Advocacy and Liaison Service and activity in GP practices.

PPP - Public Private Partnership

A contract for work between the public sector, such as a local authority or the NHS, and a private sector organisation.  See also PFI.

PQASSO - Practical Quality Assurance System for Small Organisations

A simple, flexible, self-assessment tool developed by the Charities Evaluation Service (CES) specifically for small voluntary organisations with up to 20 paid staff.

PRG - Project Review Group

Part of the Treasury in central government that oversees Private Finance Initiative (PFI), deciding whether a PFI Project can go ahead and how much government money each project receives.

PSA - Public Service Agreement

Contract which sets out what a government department or local authority will deliver in the form of measurable targets over the Spending Review (SR) period, in return for its agreed expenditure.

QUANGO - Quasi-Autonomous Non-Governmental Organisation

Bodies which are part of national government but operate at arm's length from government departments - e.g. The Audit Commission and The Health and Safety Executive.  Can also be referred to as a non departmental public body (NDPB).

Quirk Review

An independent review, which looked at Community Management and Ownership of Assets, led by Barry Quirk, Lewisham Council's Chief Executive Officer.  Community organisations can realise tremendous potential by taking on the management and ownership of community assets.  The Review looks at the barriers which may be standing in the way of more communities managing and owning assets and recommends ways we can create an environment to encourage more community management and ownership of assets.  The report is published on behalf of the Review Team by the Department for Communities and Local Government.

RB - Responsible Body

Government term for the organisation accountable for programme spend

RCC - Rural Community Council

County-based charities working to promote the welfare of local rural communities through voluntary effort and by encouraging people to help themselves.

RCO - Refugee Community Organisations

Term for organisations that are initiated and led by asylum seekers and refugees themselves.

RDA - Regional Development Agency

Non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) which promote economic development and regeneration in the English regions.  Examples include Yorkshire Forward and Advantage West Midlands.

RDA - Rural Development Area

Rural areas of England which are seen to be of the greatest economic and social need, and which become a target area for regeneration assistance

RDP - Rural Development Programme

All European Union (EU) member states are required to operate RDPs, which aim to create a productive and sustainable rural economy and conserve and enhance the rural environment.


The process of upgrading an area through social, economic and infrastructure investment and improvement.

REP - Regional Empowerment Partnership

These regional consortiums seek to bring together representatives from the community engagement, empowerment and development fields to enhance statutory and other partners' understanding of the engagement and empowerment agenda by building on the existing good practice throughout the regions. 

RES - Regional Economic Strategy

Strategy from each Regional Development Agency (RDA) in England, which sets out and assesses the current economic, social and environmental picture in the region and outlines how the RDA will address key issues for the region over the next 5-10 years.

RSL - Registered Social Landlord

Social landlords that are registered with the Housing Corporation - most are housing associations, but there are also trusts, co-operatives and companies.

RVSN - Regional Voluntary Sector Network

A network in each of the nine English regions, made up of largely grassroots organisations that have evolved from the local scene in response to the voluntary and community sector's (VCS) need to keep track of the changing face of regional government.

SBS - Small Business Service

Agency within central government, aiming to promote the UK as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business.

SCVO - Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The umbrella body for voluntary organisations in Scotland.

SDA - Sex Discrimination Act

British law since 1975, which prohibits sex discrimination against individuals in the areas of employment, education, and the provision of goods, facilities and services and in the disposal or management of premises.

Second Tier Organisations

Second tier organisations help voluntary and community organisations with areas of organisation development and management.  This can range from funding advice, governance or policy issues to financial controls and trading.

SEN - Special Education Needs

Term to describe a child who has a learning difficulty that needs special teaching

SEO - Social Entrepreneurial Organisation

Term for organisations that apply the techniques of business entrepreneurship to achieve social goals.

SLA - Service Level Agreement

A contract for the provision or receipt of any important service, which defines the parameters for the delivery of that service, for the benefit of both parties.

SMART - Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time related

Performance management term which outlines the criteria for objectives, activities or targets to ensure their appropriateness for the task.

SME - Small or Medium Sized Enterprise

Companies employing less than 250 employees.

SMP - Statutory Maternity Pay

Payment from an employer to female employees who take maternity leave or leave employment because of pregnancy or childbirth, paid for up to 26 weeks.

Social Capital

The idea of trust and co-operation that can be measured within communities.  This is increasingly seen as being of fundamental importance to social inclusion and regeneration programmes.

Source: Developing Healthier Communities training book, Health Development Agency

Social Enterprise

'Usually, but not always, non-profit-distributing enterprises but they take many institutional forms, including voluntary, co-operative, mutual or companies limited by guarantee.  They seek high levels of accountability to their stakeholders.  Social enterprises are increasingly recognised as part of a crucial third sector, distinguishing them from the public and private sectors'.

Source: Directory for Social Entrepreneurial Organisations

Social Entrepreneurs

Individuals who initiate ideas and activities in communities but not necessarily with reference to existing traditions, activities and relationships.  '... apply the techniques of business entrepreneurship to achieve social goals.  They are client or customer focused.  They are dealmakers, bringing together people, money and other resources in the most effective mix possible.'

Source: Directory for Social Entrepreneurial Organisations.

Social Exclusion

The Government has defined social exclusion as "a shorthand term for what can happen when people or areas suffer from a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime environments, bad health and family breakdown."  This is a deliberately flexible definition and the problems listed are only examples.  The most important characteristic of social exclusion is that these problems are linked and mutually reinforcing, and can combine to create a complex and fast moving vicious cycle.  The term includes poverty and low income, but is broader and addresses some of the wider causes and consequences of poverty. 

Social Justice

Enabling people to claim their human rights, meet their needs, and have greater control over the decision-making processes which affect their lives.

SOFA - Statement of Financial Activities

A requirement of all charity accounts, introduced by the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP), it is a method of analysing all income and capital in a way that shows what happened to it.

SORP - Statement of Recommended Practice

Recommendations issued by the Charity Commission on the way in which a charity should report annually on the finances and resources entrusted to it.

SR - Spending Review

Document which sets three-year Department Expenditure Limits (DEL) for government and (through Public Service Agreements) defines the key improvements that the public can expect from these resources.

SSC - Sector Skills Council

Independent, employer-led UK-wide organisation developed by groups of employers in industry or business sectors.  They aim to tackle the skills and productivity needs of their sector. 

SSP - Statutory Sick Pay

An earnings replacement to help employees when they are unable to work because they are sick.

SSP - Sub-regional Strategic Partnership

Partnerships which bring together a wide range of interests - including business, public sector, voluntary and community groups - to help see the Regional Economic Strategy (RES) delivered in local communities.  It is overseen by the Regional Development Agency (RDA).

SSSC - Scottish Social Services Council

The employment-led body leading on education, training and workforce development strategy for social care in Scotland.


Groups and organisations with an interest (stake) in what happens with a project, programme or development.

Statutory Authority

An organisation that is required by law to provide public services and receives central or local government funding, for example health authorities and local authorities.

Source: Society Guardian Glossary

SU - Strategy Unit

Government unit accountable to the Cabinet Office, aiming to improve the government's capacity to address strategic, cross-cutting issues and promote innovation in the development of policy and the delivery of the objectives.

SWOT - Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats

Business management term used to provide a framework which an organisation can use to conduct a structured analysis of its operations and identify growth opportunities.

Third Sector

Generic collective name for charity, voluntary, community, non-government and campaigning organisations.

Third Sector Partnership Board

Established by the DCLG.  The purpose of the Board is to facilitate critical challenge between the sector, local government and the Department on how to improve the Department's understanding of the third sector and the role the sector might play in delivering Departmental objectives.  The Board has three roles, to bring voices from the margins into the mainstream of policy making, to be a critical friend and to model what is best about partnership working.

Third Sector Research Centre

A new centre, established by the Office of the Third Sector (OTS) to take forward the third sector research agenda with further support from a range of partners including the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).  The centre will provide an authoritative basis for decisions by the sector, and by those who commission public services or are the targets of its campaigns.

Third Tier Organisations

Infrastructure organisation which supports other infrastructure (or 'second tier') organisations.

TLA - Three Letter Acronym


TNA - Training Needs Analysis

Process to help identify the precise areas where training is needed within an organisation

UDC - Urban Development Corporation

Organisations set up by the government to co-ordinate rapid improvements within depressed city areas.  The first UDCs were introduced in 1981 in the London Docklands and Merseyside.

ULF - Union Learning Fund

Funding administered by the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), to support unions in partnership projects to develop work-based learning opportunities for employees.

UN - United Nations

An international alliance of states, committed to preserving peace through international co-operation and collective security.

UNDP - United Nations Development Programme

The UN's global development network, advocating for change and connecting countries to knowledge, experience and resources to help people build a better life.

URC - Urban Regeneration Company

Uniting public and private sector partners, URCs are independent companies established by the relevant local authority and Regional Development Authority (RDA), working alongside English Partnerships and other local stakeholders including employers and community representatives.  Their principal aim is to engage the private sector in a sustainable regeneration strategy.

URL - Uniform Resource Locator

The technical term for a website address, e.g.

VA - Voluntary Action

Name adopted by many councils for voluntary service (CVS), such as Voluntary Action Sheffield

VAT - Value Added Tax

Tax on the final consumption of certain goods and services in the home market, such as cigarettes and alcohol.

VCO - Voluntary and Community Organisation


VCS - Voluntary and Community Sector


VDA - Volunteer Development Agency

Organisation which provides support at a local level for individual volunteers and volunteer-involving organisations.  Also known as volunteer bureaux (VB).

VSC - Voluntary Sector Council

Another term for a Council for Voluntary Service (CVS).

VSO - Voluntary Sector Option

New Deal (ND) programme aiming to provide work experience within voluntary sector organisations to unemployed people.

W3C - World Wide Web Consortium

International organisation committed to leading the Web to its full potential, including promoting a high degree of usability for people with disabilities through the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

WAG - Welsh Assembly Government


WAI - Web Accessibility Initiative

Project from World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) which, in co-ordination with organisations around the world, pursues accessibility of the Web for those with disabilities.

WCVA - Wales Council for Voluntary Action

The umbrella body for voluntary organisations in Wales.

WHO - World Health Organisation

The United Nations (UN) specialised agency for health, established in 1948 and governed by 192 member states through the World Health Assembly.  WHO's objective is the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.  Its recommendations are not binding, but are usually endorsed by the UK government.