: October 20th, 2009

This document sets out lessons on empowering communities and it is based on an analysis of where the empowerment process has worked. Its aim is to enable policy makers and practitioners to develop workable activities for empowerment underpinned by a sound evidence base. It covers the areas of asset transfer, citizen governance, electronic participation, participatory budgeting, petitions and redress.

There is extensive evidence on empowering communites from across policy sectors and both within and outside the UK which points to advantages in the evidence based approach. It provides the opportunity to share practice and insights from others seeking to address similar challenges and it is a useful guide when developing practice.

Empowering communities is a complex and often overlapping world. Different mechanisms have different effects in relation to community empowerment. It is suggested that the first step in making sense of empowerment is to understand the community including the demographic and socioeconomic profile and how this profile shapes both the capacity of citizens to engage and the demands they may make for particular mechanisms of empowerment.

The next step is understanding the available tools and books by a number of authors are recommended

It is then vital to understand the challenges and examples that are offered and how to address these challenges to provide the best opportunity for empowerment.

The final step is understanding the offer by reflecting on those things which might be done to develop community empowerment. In particular, how can the culture of the organisation be changed to make empowerment a central rather than a marginal goal.