Equality in community engagement: A scoping review of evidence from research and practice in Scotland

Ruth Lightbody*, Oliver Escobar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In Scotland, innovative designs for community engagement have been developed by national and local governments, public authorities, and civil society organisations, leading to a wealth of literature and research. This evidence review of 79 articles and reports, explores the intersection between community engagement and inequality in Scotland. We find that the ways in which equality must be supported within community processes are often overlooked. Community engagement must be placed in the context of broader democratic innovation and citizenship at regional, national and global scale in order to become future proof. Appropriate resources are required to avoid replicating systemic inequalities as well as to support the development of a variety of institutions, processes and methods that cater for groups often mislabelled as ‘hard to reach’ but that are perhaps best seen as ‘easy to ignore’ (Matthews et al. 2012). The paper highlights key learning and strategic considerations to inform practice in Scotland and beyond. The findings and recommendations are of relevance to reformers, innovators, researchers, practitioners and policymakers working across diverse policy areas and levels of governance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-380
Number of pages26
JournalScottish Affairs
Issue number3
Early online date29 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • equality
  • community engagement
  • participation
  • Scotland
  • inequality
  • easy-to-ignore
  • hard-to-reach


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