Participation handbook

This handbook provides a guide to good practice in participation work across Scottish Government. It provides information about participatory methods and when to use them, the development of an effective participation strategy, and signposts to further resources.

National Standards for Community Engagement

The National Standards for Community Engagement are Scotland’s good- practice principles designed to support and inform the process of community engagement, and improve what happens as a result. They describe the main elements of effective community engagement, and set out detailed performance statements that everyone involved can use to achieve the highest quality results and the greatest impact.

They are intended to act as a central benchmark and reference point for best practice, and have been widely accepted by a range of practitioners as key principles for effective practice.

There are seven standards:

  • Inclusion: we will identify and involve the people and organisations that are affected by the focus of the engagement
  • Support: we will identify and overcome any barriers to participation
  • Planning: there is a clear purpose for the engagement, which is based on a shared understanding of community needs and ambitions
  • Working together: we will work effectively together to achieve the aims of the engagement
  • Methods: we will use methods of engagement that are fit for purpose
  • Communication: we will communicate clearly and regularly with the people, organisations and communities affected by the engagement
  • Impact: we will assess the impact of the engagement and use what we have learned to improve our future community engagement

The National Standards for Community Engagement provide examples of what good engagement looks like. These are a useful practical guide to complement the information set out in this document, and should be referred to as a way to benchmark your own plans and activities.



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