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ONECAN Factsheet; Community Engagement

What is Community Engagement?

Community engagement is a way of developing a working relationship between public bodies and community groups.

Good community engagement will mean that both groups can understand and act on the needs or issues of community experiences, helping to achieve positive change.

The National Standards for Community Engagement are a way to build and sustain the relationships between public services and community groups and are a free resource anyone can use.      

About the Standards

They are clear principles that describe the main elements of effective community engagement. They provide detailed performance statements that everyone involved can use to achieve the highest quality results and the greatest impact. 


The National Standards for Community Engagement are not designed to replace existing community engagement or participation frameworks. They are intended to act as a central benchmark and reference point for best practice. They are designed to reflect the developing policy relating to participation, engagement and community empowerment in Scotland.


The standards are helpful for:


Public sector bodies and elected representatives to help them plan how to involve communities in shaping local plans and services, identify who should be involved, and make sure that the community engagement process is fair and effective.


Third sector organisations and community groups to help them involve their members or the wider community in shaping the services they deliver, and to make sure that they accurately represent members’ or communities’ views in other decision-making processes. 


The private and independent sector to help agencies and businesses to involve and work with the community in planning developments and designing services.


The Scottish Community Development Centre are a great resource for information about community engagement and development and are the National Lead body for Community Deveopment in Scotland.    Further information can be found at

National Standards Visual 

The Seven Standards

Impact – We will assess the impact of the engagement and use what we have learned to improve our future community engagement.

Communication – We will communicate clearly and regularly with the people, organisations and communities affected by the engagement.

Methods – We will use methods of engagement that are fit for purpose.

Working together – We will work effectively together to achieve the aims of the engagement.

Planning – There is a clear purpose for the engagement, which is based on a shared understanding of community needs and ambitions.

Support – We will identify and overcome any barriers to participation. 

Inclusion – We will identify and involve the people and organisations that are affected by the focus of the engagement.

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