The Challenges of Community Planning for the Community and Voluntary Sector in the Current Climate: A Road Well Travelled?
This topic is of particular interest in Scotland, but the localism approach which it represents has become a key policy priority, particularly at local level, across the UK and beyond. My response draws on relevant policy literature, and my own knowledge of the field; but I also refer to the work of two former students who were employed as Community Planning Officers in two different local authorities near Edinburgh and who have written about their dilemmas in reconciling policy and practice in community development work (Fraser, 2012; Scott, 2012). I am going to summarise what appear to be the main concerns, criticisms and challenges of localist approaches to policy, although these are by no means exhaustive and relate to the Scottish context in particular. I will then place this approach within the wider context and look at how these challenges might be addressed. In relation to the metaphor of ‘the road, which is the title of this talk, the question arises as to whether this the road already well-travelled or is it uncharted territory? If it looks like the road we know, but it turns out not to be, we may lose our way without realizing it until too late.
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