EVALUATING THE IMPACT OF COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT
How we measure that community empowerment is making a difference is not straightforward. This is partly because community empowerment can take so many different forms. At one level, how to measure impact must be decided on a case by case basis, depending on what activity is being taken forward by which kind of group or community. However, even that can be a challenging process, involving some complex debates and difficult decisions.
There are though a number of pieces of work underway in Scotland which can help in this context. Perhaps most importantly, Single Outcome Agreements have been developed and many of these SOAs include indicators and measures that relate to community engagement and community empowerment. Across the UK other indicators of community strength have been developed and there are questions in the Scottish Household survey which relate to people's ability to influence decisions.
Audit Scotland are also developing their approach to Best Value II audits which will contain a specific focus on how local government and their partners are engaging with communities.
The key thing then, is to bring coherence to this picture and to help people to understand how best to measure the impact of community empowerment. The Scottish Government will work with COSLA and the third sector to develop a piece of work that will deliver that coherence.
It is also important the we reflect regularly on developments at a National level and we will review progress with this action plan with partners in a year's time in April 2010.