ESB Review of Standards for Community Development

NOS Advert DRAFT 2Community Development Practitioner Knowledge and Skills

All the work that ESB has carried out up to now has been based on the National Occupational Standards as the expression of the knowledge and skills competent Community Development practitioners hold.

The National Occupational Standards were last reviewed in 2015.

The amount of change that has taken place over the 5 years since the last review has had an impact on all we do, not least on the skills, knowledge and political situation of every community.

Given that level of change, ESB is keen to ensure that the standards against which programmes are endorsed in England are those required by the sector and respected by the users and so, a review and potential updating of those standards is necessary.

Over the next 9 months we will be undertaking a review to look at  what we have that still works and what doesn’t as well as to look at the relevance of other standards developments such as the international standards for CD and the UN sustainability goals as examples.

We intend to carry out this work using regular 1 or 2 question surveys each month – as a means of maximising the breadth of involvement and minimising the time commitment requested of participants each month.

The outcomes of the responses to the questions over the months will be used to determine:

  • whether ESB should continue to use the current Community Development National Occupational Standards as the basis for our endorsement and Recognition of practice criteria
  • whether to adopt the UN Sustainability goals, IACD standards, or another set of standards as identified through the process
  • whether to create new ESB draft standards, which could include elements of the UN sustainability goals and IACD standards, for community development practice in England.

If any changes are to be made after further consultation, our expectation is that the Community Development Standards England (2021) would then be available for use across the sector for the start of the 2021 academic year as well as informing the work of ESB

We would like to invite any of you to get involved in this work by answering some questions about the topic. Below there is an outline of the process and you can find the the first set of questions here, as a Survey Monkey questionnaire.

We want to involve as many people as possible with this review and we want the process we adopt to encourage people to contribute to the different aspects of the review. The review will be carried out primarily on line; initially people will be asked to opt in to receive a question each month which they would respond to; people could join at any time through this web site and see the previous and current questions. As the questions are answered so the collated responses will be posted on our web site. 

As an iterative process, which may be amended as a result of feedback given, the process and timings involved may have to change, but the process outlined here is our current intention.

We are seeking people to help steer this project by joining an expert group to review the process as it develops and the information we receive from people, if you are interested please contact us.

Our current thinking is that there are a number of distinct stages to the review:

Stage 1. Exploring how relevant the standards are to community development today

This stage will explore perceptions of the key purpose definition and the current values statements.

You can find the the first set of questions here, as a Survey Monkey questionnaire.

Stage 2. Exploring links with other standards

This would explore the relevance of the UN sustainability goals and the IACD standards; and seek information about other professional standards we should consider

Stage 3. Existing NOS Standards

This will explore the relevance of the existing standards and what new areas need to be included.

Stage 4. Drafting our standards

This will explore the proposed new standard headings, how the new standards should be set out, the relevance of a common core, and how skills and knowledge are articulated

Stage 5. Exploring how to publicise and get people using the standards

This will explore how people use standards and what kinds of guides are helpful. It can also look at ways to publicise the new standards.

ESB: Our Repsonse and Guidance for Covid-19 (coronavirus)

As a response to the ongoing developments for HEIs in readiness and response to COVI-19 (Coronavirus) preparations, the following guidelines are being applied by ESB:

The potential consequences of COVID-19 (including the temporary closure of settings) are that some students may be prevented from completing the required assessed professional practice as part of their ESB endorsed programme. This ESB guidance is intended to assist with managing and minimising disruption to students and HEIs while seeking to ensure that the quality of degree programmes is not compromised.
The assumption in the guidance is that programme design will not change as a result of an outbreak of Covid-19 but that HEI’s will use flexibility in how practice is embedded in the curriculum over the duration of a programme. In all situations, we are keen to work alongside HEIs to ensure that no students are at risk of not achieving the standards because insufficient time had been afforded to practice, whilst ensuring care to trainees’ wellbeing and safety.

Guidance for Non-Final Year Students:
For students at levels 4 and 5 of their programme whose practice is disrupted, we suggest that universities progress them to the next year/level without having completed all the required fieldwork, on condition that they undertake additional supervised fieldwork to make up the hours, and the learning outcomes associated with them, at a later stage in their programme. Individual universities should work with placements and the student to best identify when this could be possible – including the use of time outside typical University teaching terms/semesters.

Guidance for Final Year Students and Postgraduate Students:
Final-year (Level 6) students are more likely to have completed most of their practice hours but will also face difficulty in meeting ESBs requirement for demonstrating competence in the 6 standards in Key Area 1 of CD NOS. ESB recommends that a process of Recognition of student practice is implemented. This can be achieved by using the existing ESB template for Recognition which requires students to state what they have done to achieve this standard (from work, volunteering, planning for placement, what knowledge and skills they have used) and then to reflect on this. This small practice portfolio would be verified by the tutor and would replace the final placement report. ESB would organise a process of sampling to assist quality assurance.

For postgraduate students, a disruption of 2-3 months could risk non-completion of the programme. However, there is potentially less flexibility to gather evidence of activity as part of the process. Universities in this case may need to consider extending the programme and review the graduation date to ensure students have time to complete assessed professional practice. Alternatively, as with final year students, the ESB process of recognition of student practice could be implemented.

ESB can provide guidance via phone and email to enable programmes to quickly set up this recognition process for final year or post graduate students. Contact us  for documents to complete and process to adopt to use this reflection process. Please contact us so that our sampling support for the quality process can be planned for timescales. Alternatively, if you are intending to put other systems into place, please contact us to ensure they will meet our requirements.
This guidance is intended to run between March 2020 and July 2020 and ESB will revise it in due course.

Validation of Professional Youth Work Programmes

ETS and NYA have been conducting a review of the requirements that underpin the validation of professional youth work programmes in England. Given the challenging circumstances for both the youth work field and the institutions delivering programmes, it was felt to be timely to reflect on the clarity and relevance of requirements and consider how our validation processes align to and support wider institutional review activity. There is also work to review NYA and ETS approaches, quality assurance and support to programmes.

A copy of the revised guidance which remains in a draft format and contains some explanatory narrative to assist in this consultation can be downloaded here. A survey monkey form has been created to aid the gathering of feedback to ensure all comments are captured:

We are keen for as many of our stakeholders to respond as possible as this really helps inform the final version with confidence that we have met the aim of the review to produce clear and concise guidance  that continues to support robust professional formation whilst being accommodating to the changes and challenges within the sector.

Please could all comments be shared by the 4th July.

ESB Annual Report 2018/9


This year has been quite busy with more Recognition programmes running in the North East. Our work to endorse programmes remains core area of work, we are involved more with the dual validation of Youth and Community Development programmes with the NYA through their ETS committee. We continue to be active members of the ETS and contribute to their development and updating work. Board members have continued to be involved with the Local Trust research and with PALCYW, otherwise known as TAG – the group representing lecturers running youth and community work programmes. Through this work we  make a substantial difference to the programmes being offered to people interested I a CD approach to their work in communities. We welcomed some new people who are getting involved in the work of ESB, especially around the idea of running regional workshops or working within specific area such as housing.

Read more: ESB Annual Report 2018/9

All Party Parliamentary Group for Youth Affairs

The National Youth Agency (NYA) is delighted to support the All Party Parliamentary Group for Youth Affairs (APPG) to lead a full national inquiry into youth work. As the national body for youth work NYA is working hard to champion our profession and to constantly highlight the need for youth work. The NYA is grateful to the cross party group of MP’s who will lead this inquiry and special thanks also to the APPG secretariat British Youth Council and YMCA England and Wales for supporting this endeavour.

The inquiry is seeking to address the following four points:

1. What is the role of youth work in addressing the needs and opportunities for young people?

2. Are the key issues and challenges faced by young people being addressed by current youth service provisions?

3. Are there sufficient youth workers to support youth services and other delivery models for good quality youth work?

4. What are the training and workforce development needs to secure and sustain youth work?

The inquiry is being launched today by the Chairman of the APPG, Lloyd Russell-Moyle with the NYA. The NYA is calling on the youth sector to respond passionately and comprehensively to our call for evidence. Evidence can be submitted to the inquiry team via the NYA’s website:

We will be supporting the sector to submit as much evidence as possible to enable the cross-party group of MP’s to draw conclusions. The APPG MP’s will also be conducting a number of hearings and visits to youth projects across the country. Organisations can nominate themselves for an MP visit via the link above also.