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Community Capacity Building Strategies | Evaluation

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Published: Tue, 14 Aug 2018

The article outlined below is an evaluation of the success or otherwise of the Community Capacity Building programmes within the United Kingdom. The original purposes of all the Community Capacity Building programmes in Britain was to increase the amount of social housing and also community based facilities actually available for those people that need the most. The Community Capacity Building programmes in Britain are as will be examined intended to maximise the level of local regeneration or renewal through the greater provision of social housing and community facilities without necessarily constructing large numbers of new purpose built buildings. The evaluation will seek to actively examine the examples of good practice as well as the examples of where the Community Capacity Building programmes have either gone wrong completely or have failed to live up to expectations. The Community Capacity Building programmes as will be examined are mainly concentrated in areas with higher numbers of black and ethnic minority community groups such as Birmingham, London, Manchester, and Glasgow.

The over all objectives of the Community Capacity Building programmes is to improve the situation in local communities within the rural and urban areas with the greatest need for economic regeneration and renewal to be achieved. It was anticipated that such economic regeneration or renewal would strengthen local communities and thus go on to enhance their social cohesion.[1] The function of the Community Capacity Building programmes was to build up the most economically deprived local communities in a social sense at the same time as regenerating their physical environment by renovating existing buildings and facilities. The New Labour government also regarded the Community Capacity Building programmes as being connected to the other economic and social regeneration as well as renewal schemes that it introduced after coming into office in 1997.[2]

It was the New Labour government that brought in the Community Capacity Building programmes throughout the whole of the United Kingdom. The Community Capacity Building programmes were administered differently in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales due to the New Labour government introducing devolution into Scotland and Wales.[3] To a large extent the Community Capacity Building programmes were regarded by the New Labour government as being complimentary to the already existing as well as the proposed regeneration and renewal schemes such as the Regional Development Corporations and the New Deal for Communities projects.[4] Indeed just like the New Deal for Communities projects the Community Capacity Building programmes were set up in such a way as to allow local communities to have a meaningful input into the regeneration and renewal schemes actually carried out.[5]

The New Labour government hoped that the involvement of local communities in the decision-making process of the Community Capacity Building programmes would make such local communities feel more attached to those programmes. Due to the Community Capacity Building programmes being targeted towards the fighting of poverty and social exclusion inside the most deprived local communities these programmes have involved a high degree of participation from black and ethnic minority community groups.[6] Despite the Community Capacity Building programmes all having similar organisational frameworks as well as the same over all objectives there have been differences in the effectiveness and also the performance have become apparent. There have been good, indifferent, as well as bad practices can be discerned from those Community Capacity Building programmes which have been implemented in the United Kingdom.[7]

There have certainly good practices, which have been followed in the implementation of the most successful of the Community Capacity Building programmes carried out within the United Kingdom. These good practices could also be followed in the Community Capacity Building programmes that have apparently failed or underachieved as well as helping to shape the structure and organisation of future regeneration or renewal programmes.[8] All of the Community Capacity Building programmes aim to increase the amount of social capital available within deprived local communities such as those in Birmingham, London, Manchester, and Glasgow whilst at the same time seeming to offer people better opportunities. The Community Capacity Building programmes are there to provide people in deprived areas the facilities and also the services that helps to improve the over all quality of their lives besides assisting the regeneration and the renewal of their local communities.[9]

All of the Community Capacity Building programmes to differing degrees involve voluntary sector organisations as well as local community groups. It can convincingly argued that the Community Capacity Building programmes that have worked the best are the ones that have involved as many voluntary sector organisations and local community groups as possible in deciding the regeneration and renewal schemes that will be carried out. For the Community Capacity Building programmes the difficult part of involving a higher number of voluntary sector organisations and local community groups is that in can complicate the decision-making process, and thus lengthen the total time taken to fully implement the regeneration and renewal projects eventually agreed upon.[10]

The ideal good practice for the Community Capacity Building programmes to achieve would be to effectively co-ordinate all the relevant voluntary sector organisations and local community groups in order to ensure the regeneration and the renewal projects are carried out without delay, and that such projects are finished successfully. The organisational key to achieving the intended regeneration and renewal projects is to arguably only to involve the most relevant voluntary sector organisations and local community groups that will have a part to play in ensuring the success of the Community Capacity Building programmes in any nearby areas.[11] Rural areas that have benefited from the introduction of these programmes included Teesdale and East Northamptonshire.[12]

When it comes down to the successful completion of any of the Community Capacity Building programmes good practice has demonstrated the value of only involving the most relevant of the voluntary sector organisations and local community groups. These are the organisations and the groups that are needed to start and then finish the chosen regeneration and renewal projects previously agreed to. In the deprived areas of the United Kingdom in which the voluntary sector organisations and local community groups have exactly matching, or in fact similar outlooks it has proved to be easier to agree over the regeneration and renewal projects they wish to implement. There is the regeneration and the renewal projects that will add the most social value to the particular local area, the improvements that they have made possible in the first place. In the deprived areas in which the voluntary sector organisations and local community groups have co-operated in the Community Capacity Building programmes it has seemed that success has been most likely.[13]

It has been assumed that the voluntary sector organisations and local community groups that are most important are those which represent black and ethnic minority communities and they will automatically not to mention unanimously agree on the regeneration and the renewal projects they need to fully implement. Unanimous or comprehensive support for regeneration and renewal projects will allow the Community Capacity Building programmes that enthusiastic voluntary sector organisations and local community groups are part of to be more successful. It is logical to argue that the Community Capacity Building programmes that have worked the most effectively have been the ones that have managed to gain wide-ranging agreement between the diverse voluntary sector organisations and local community groups involved in the decision-making process.[14] Examples of successful programmes have included Canning Town Outlook as well as the Secret Garden in Highgate Newtown.[15]

Perhaps the best way of obtaining good practice in the implementation and also the running of the Community Capacity Building programmes is to adopt several regeneration and renewal projects in order to meet the needs of as many voluntary sector organisations and local community groups as possible. However to maximise the social value achieved due care has to be taken to make sure that only viable regeneration and renewal projects are adopted. It is good practice to select viable regeneration and renewal projects rather than simply choosing to spend scare funds on projects that are realistically un-viable, and will therefore not increase social capital, or indeed increase economic as well as social opportunities. The achievement of good practice is to make sure that the regeneration and also the renewal projects carried out are the best possible use of limited budgets. The voluntary sector organisations and local community groups that are given advise by other organisations, government departments, and also local authorities can also make better decisions than those that are not given sound advise.

However not all of the Community Capacity Building programmes have been a success when it comes down to the achievement of their objectives in relation to the full implementation of regeneration and renewal projects. The failure or the underachievement of some of the Community Capacity Building programmes is frequently due to the poor practices relating to the decision-making processes, which mean that the voluntary sector organisations and local community groups do not co-operate with each other effectively. Alternatively the voluntary sector organisations and local community groups that belong to failing Community Capacity Building programmes have contributed to the lack of success by failing to agree to regeneration and renewal projects.[16]

The Community Capacity Building programmes across the United Kingdom have not all been able to make the voluntary sector organisations and local community groups enthusiastic about the community engagement required in order to successfully implement the regeneration and renewal projects to which they have agreed to. The voluntary sector organisations and local community groups may find it hard to find enough funds to carry out the regeneration and renewal projects that they want to implement the most to serve the needs of their local communities. The Community Capacity Building programme that has been widely considered to be the least successful was the one that covered the Glasgow area. The Glasgow Community Capacity Building programme was hindered by poor decision-making, as well as poor practices by the voluntary sector organisations and local community groups that belonged to it.[17]

The voluntary sector organisations and local community groups that were part of the Glasgow Community Capacity Building programme to a large extent were unable to co-operate effectively with each other. The over all lack of co-operation and co-ordination between the voluntary sector organisations and local community groups belonging to the Glasgow Community Capacity Building programme had a knock on detrimental effect. This effect was noticeable when it came down to the speed and also the stability of decisions made with regard to regeneration and renewal projects. The slow pace of decision-making as well as unsuitable tarnished the reputation of the Glasgow Community Capacity Building programme. The poor reputation of the Glasgow Community Capacity Building programme has in many respects overshadowed the aspects of the regeneration and renewal projects that contributed to the improving the lot of the local communities within the Glasgow area. After all the Glasgow area has the largest concentration of black and ethnic minority communities in the whole of Scotland. Given the size of the black and ethnic minority population that live inside the Glasgow area it is hardly surprising that were difficulties in balancing the diverse interests of the voluntary sector organisations and local community groups within the vicinity.[18]

It could be argued in fact that the success or failure of the Community Capacity Building programmes within the United Kingdom is determined by more than just good or bad operating practices within these programmes. The New Labour government although it was keen to establish and promote the Community Capacity Building programmes right across the whole of Britain intended that they would be linked with other bodies and institutions in raising living standards. Various voluntary sector organisations and local community groups ideally co-operate and co-ordinate with each other when part of their respective Community Capacity Building programmes yet they could not be expected to right all the problems of local communities in deprived rural and urban areas throughout the United Kingdom. The Community Capacity Building programmes were meant to complement other programmes or social schemes such New Deal for Communities.[19] Some of the differences in the ways in which the Community Capacity Building programmes operate are due to the introduction of devolved government in Scotland and Wales as much as via good and bad practice.[20]

Therefore to summarize the Community Capacity Building programmes have undoubtedly played their part in the improving of the lives of the people that live in the most deprived areas of the United Kingdom. It is noticeable that the most successful Community Capacity Building programmes have allowed voluntary sector organisations and local community groups to co-operate with each other in order to implement regeneration and renewal projects quickly as well as successfully. The involvement of voluntary sector organisations and local community groups has meant that local communities have had a greater influence over the regeneration and renewal projects carried out as part of the Community Capacity Building programmes. The Community Capacity Building programmes are thus a means of allocating extra central government funding into the most deprived areas of the United Kingdom. Although such programmes allow voluntary sector organisations and local community groups to varying degrees of influence over subsequent regeneration and renewal projects they do not have enough funds from the central government to end economic and social deprivation overnight. The New Labour government has used other programmes such as the New Deal for Communities as well as the extension of social housing schemes to tackle poverty alongside the lack of affordable housing. The voluntary sector organisations and local community groups that are part of these programmes aware that although there are merits to the scheme there are also limitations to how much can actually be achieved in the most deprived areas of Britain.

Bibliography

Balloch S and Taylor M, (2001) partnership working: Policy and Practice, Policy press Coxall B, Robins L & Leach R (2003) Contemporary British Politics 4th edition, Palgrave, London

DEFRA, (2003) Community Capacity Building and Voluntary Sector Infrastructure in Rural England, Crown Copyright.

Diamond J and Liddle J, (2005) Management of Regeneration, Routledge

Home Office, (2004) Firm Foundations – The Government’s framework for Community Capacity Building, Crown Copyright

Dorey P (2005) Developments in British Public Policy, Sage Publications, London

Jones B, Kavanagh D, Moran M, & Norton P, (2004) Politics UK, 5th edition, Pearson Longman, London

Kingdom J (2003) Government and Politics in Britain, An Introduction 3rd edition, Polity Press, Cambridge

Moran M, (2005) Politic and Governance in the UK, Palgrave, Basingstoke

Rydin Y, (2003) Urban and Environmental Planning in the UK, Palgrave, Basingstoke

Seldon A & Kavanagh D, (2005) The Blair Effect 2001 – 5, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

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Footnotes

[1] Coxall, Robins, and Leach, 2003 p. 380

[2] Moran, 2005 p. 29

[3] Kingdom, 2003 p. 495

[4] Dorey, 2005 p. 25

[5] Seldon & Kavanagh, 2005 p. 411

[6] Jones et al, 2004 p. 619

[7] Rydin, 2003 p. 47

[8] Balloch & Taylor, 2001 p. 15

[9] Seldon &Kavanagh, 2005 p. 315

[10] Jones et al, 2004 p. 619

[11] Home Office, 2004 p. 20

[12] DEFRA, 2003 p. 5

[13] Diamond & Liddle, 2005 p.20

[14] Jones et al, 2004 p. 619

[15] Home Office, 2004 pp. 8 – 10

[16] Jones et al, 2004 p. 619

[17] Seldon & Kavanagh, 2005 p. 316

[18] Jones et al, 2004 p. 619

[19] Home Office, 2004 p. 2

[20] Jones et al, 2004 p. 620


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