Community work is concerned with working collectively with communities
and groups for positive social change, inclusion and equality. Over the
past fifty years and more, voluntary and professional community work has
supported communities in seeking such change. If effective community work
practice is to be ensured in a rapidly changing Ireland of increasingly diverse
communities, it is vital that standards are set to guide and focus practice.
The aim of this publication, Towards Standards for Quality Community Work, is to
provide a reference framework for all community work stakeholders – employers,
communities, funders, and education and training providers, as well as paid and
unpaid practitioners. Towards Standards is concerned with setting the criteria –
knowledge, skills, qualities, values and practice principles – for good community
work practice, and for education and training for that practice. Towards Standards
therefore outlines what should be expected of community workers and others
using community work methods and approaches.
The framework has been developed by practitioners, educators and funders from
the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland to be relevant in both jurisdictions
and to reflect the distinct ethos of Irish community work. This was done
acknowledging the differences associated with different sets of legislation and
policies but recognising the key similarities in values and principles, as well as
the continued importance of cross-border initiatives and worker mobility. It is
intended that the framework will provide the basis for the development of
community work education and training endorsement criteria, linking all levels
of such education from short local courses to full professional programmes.
This document has been prepared with social work education and youth work
standards in mind and with reference to the work of Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK)1
and the Training Agencies Group (TAG)2 .
Key to ensuring the value of the standards will be their use by all stakeholders.
In order to evaluate them and contribute to their continuous development, an
initial review is proposed in three years, followed by five yearly revisions to ensure