The Building Community Capacity Lead will be appointed by the senior executive team, to provide strategic leadership on this package. They should be senior enough to be familiar with Board level priorities and organisational key performance indicators, as well as local health and wellbeing indices. They should be in a position to advocate for Building Community Capacity and the package, with the Board and other relevant stakeholders, and to maintain an overview of projects proposed so that they contribute effectively to the organisation’s goals. They should also ensure that they dovetail with the local Children and Young People's Plan.
They are also likely to be involved in identifying appropriate Workplace Advisers, and will certainly need to liaise closely with them in order to ensure that participants’ ideas and creativity are both sustained and harnessed within the bigger picture. Whilst grass roots identification of issues needs to be encouraged and confidence strengthened, it is important to avoid duplication, and develop synergies wherever possible. The Building Community Capacity Lead may also be able to open doors to sources of funding for equipment, room rental etc where appropriate, or authorise reciprocal arrangements with other agencies which could offer relevant facilities or resources.
Each Workplace Adviser will be identified and appointed to this role by the Building Community Capacity Lead, in collaboration with their line manager. It is envisaged that one individual in this role might support up to ten practitioners through the package at any one time. People who might be suitable as a Workplace Adviser could include staff such as community matrons, specialist practitioners, practice placement facilitators, even perhaps a Community Practice Teacher who was not able to find a student (though these will hopefully be rare in future years!), or an experienced practitioner with around two years experience of community focused activity. Other suitable people might not be health visitors, but would need to understand community capacity building, and to have a public health perspective. Workplace Advisers will need to work with participants as mentors, advocates and as colleagues to keep them motivated, learning and focused on useful outcomes for their community of focus. They will also need to liaise closely with the Building Community Capacity Lead to ensure that project proposals fit into wider organisational thinking, and that project outcomes are appropriately disseminated within and beyond the organisation.
Please feel free to view the Workplace Advisor briefing here.
For every participant, part of the package will involve exploring what they already know about community capacity building and what they need to learn or refresh (for example what experience they have had in this area, how familiar they are with models and approaches which might be useful) and what relevant skills they have (for example in working with service user groups) which might be useful, or which they need to develop (for example presenting to interagency meetings, using rapid appraisal techniques or analysing data). For many participants, this may already form part of an ongoing appraisal or personal development process within the organisation. The package should just provide an alternative vehicle for review in this area. The Workplace Adviser will be available to help participants in planning how to address relevant gaps.
As participants move into planning and taking forward the project, the Workplace Adviser will be available to help them to reflect on their experiences through structured discussion and to update their portfolio and personal development plan accordingly. When the project is nearing completion (or at the formal assessment point), the Workplace Adviser will be well placed to help participants review what they have achieved, how it fits with personal and organisational objectives, and enable them to share their work with relevant audiences.
About the Building Community Capacity Programme
In the answers below we try to explain some of the questions which people often ask about this innovative new programme.
If you use a computer at work or at home, you probably have enough IT and technical knowledge to cope! You need to know how to connect to the internet on the machine you use, and be able to use Google or another way of searching for websites.
If you undertake this programme using an accredited route, then it could help you to build towards a Bachelors or a Masters degree, depending on the level of your existing qualifications. The Credit Accumulation and Transfer Scheme (CATS) allows any university or college in the UK to recognise academic work completed with another provider, and through accreditation for prior experiential learning (APEL) work based experience can also be recognised. We envisage this programme being worth 30 credits at level 7. Depending on the qualification and provider you are thinking of you will need 180 credits at level 7 for a Masters degree.
If you are already actively involved in building community capacity, the programme will help you to document evidence of your thinking and skills through a reflective portfolio, which could be valuable for NMC and other purposes. If you are already delivering a capacity building project with clear, evidenced outcomes, you should be able to agree some updated aims and outcomes with your manager. You may well be in demand to help and support colleagues, you may want to consider applying to your workplace lead to become a workplace adviser for the programme.
The first part will provide links to reference material and online or distance learning materials which will provide updates in relevant areas, for example population health and epidemiology, wider determinants of health, service improvement, social marketing, motivational interviewing, solution focused therapy, leadership skills as well as a wider evidence base for building community capacity and project management. The menu which participants see will be linked to their skills audit. We don’t expect everyone to need to refresh every area. We believe that people will need to go back to this as the weeks go on, and may need to access other material to help them carry out their project.
The second part will contain master classes which will present a series of perspectives, from experts and practitioners, and pose questions for discussion with colleagues or individual reflection. The content of these master classes will be driven by current policy developments and key public health agendas. The initial example looks at community development and its role in building community capacity but others will look at some of the implications of current public health and health policy, social care developments, urban and rural regeneration, developments in education , issues around leisure and others related to children and families.
The basic programme will enable everyone who completes it to gain evidence of their thinking and skills through a reflective portfolio, as well as delivering a capacity building project with clear, evidenced outcomes. The programme has also been designed to enable participants to gain academic credits towards a Masters level qualification. You may choose to do this at your local University or by contacting Northumbria University where this has already been accredited.
If you do not want to go for accreditation now you may wish to use this evidence of your learning at a later date.