NQSW resource - Outcome statement 11: Community capacity building

In this section:

Community capacity building: Introduction

Promote social inclusion and participation in communities.

Community capacity building is about supporting and strengthening the skills and abilities of people and groups to develop their communities. The aim of community capacity building is participation and empowerment. A community does not have to be geographical – it can be a community ‘by interest’.

Community capacity building: Key practice points

  • People face barriers to achieving positive outcomes when living in poverty or deprived environments or when experiencing discrimination.
  • Capacity building is one method being used by government to transform community approaches to social and environmental problems. The main policy driver for this may be seen in the Department of Health's Independence, well-being and choice: our vision for the future of social care for adults in England.
  • Community capacity building creates opportunities for people, including those who are seldom heard.
  • Knowing the resources and organisations that are available locally and increasing their capacity to support families will help people considerably, particularly those who may not meet eligibility criteria.
  • Community capacity building provides an opportunity to improve life chances and enable people to have as much control as possible. The checklist How are you doing on community capacity-building? (PDF) (from SCIE Guide 16: Community-based day activities and supports for people with learning disabilities) will give you some insight.
  • The Scottish Community Development Centre for Learning Connections' Building community capacity: resources for community learning and development practice (PDF) brings together frameworks, tools and other materials that may be helpful for community learning and development.
  • Other help and ideas may be found on SCIE's Putting people first: Building community capacity website – a range of case studies and examples from across the UK.
  • In Control’s Community capacity and social care describes a model of community capacity building which can be used to promote and test a range of possible strategies for building stronger communities and stronger citizenship.
  • Paying people for their time and expertise is good practice. Discuss reimbursement up front and seek advice to ensure people’s benefits are not affected.

There is a range of models for building community capacity. As a newly-qualified social worker (NQSW), you can support this process by ensuring that:


We hope you will find this material helpful in your first year as a social worker. However, we recognise that this will not provide you with all the answers. You will need to discuss your practice with your supervisor, raise any ethical dilemmas and be reflective in your work. Use the Portfolio (Word file) document to record your reflection on this outcome statement.