Community Planning Officials Survey: Understanding the everyday work of local participatory governance in Scotland

Oliver Escobar, Mor Kandlik Eltanani, Ken Gibb, Sarah Weakley

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Community planning officials constitute one of the most significant groups of local public servants in Scotland today. They work across a broad range of key policy areas and are at the forefront of advancing the agenda laid out by the Christie Commission on the Future Delivery of Public Services and legislation such as the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act.

This Survey report and Executive Summary present the findings of the first survey of community planning officials (managers and officers) conducted in Scotland.

Over the years improving community planning partnerships (CPPs) has often meant reforming structures and procedures; the ‘hardware’, to use a computing metaphor. Getting that right is crucial but policy, governance and public service successes often hinge on the ‘software’: relationships, mindsets, values and ways of working.

Community planning officials (CPOs) operate at the heart of local governance. This survey sought to explore their views on issues related to both the ‘hardware’ and the ‘software’ of CPPs.

The report has sections on:

Understanding the CPO workforce
Understanding the work of CPOs
Using evidence
Understanding how CPPs work
Community engagement in community planning
Frameworks, policies and reforms affecting community planning

It also includes 14 recommendations focused on: developing resources and evidence to support the work of CPPs; staff development and support; improving deliberative quality in CPPs; participation and engagement; and the impact on communities and inequalities.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherWhat Works Scotland
Commissioning bodyWhat Works Scotland
Number of pages74
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2018


  • community planning
  • community engagement
  • collaborative governance
  • participatory governance
  • policy work
  • knowledge brokers
  • deliberative practitioners
  • public engagers
  • boundary spanners


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