Edited by Sarah Banks, Hugh Butcher, Paul Henderson and Jim Robertson.
This fine volume is further confirmation of the growing importance of “neighbourhood” in delivering public services.
In the contributors’ hands the notion of “community practice” moves well beyond the limits of community worker to embrace the work of self-managed groups, such as residents’ associations or disability action groups, and the work of professionals and policy makers who have a neighbourhood focus.
Learning to work collaboratively with citizens in their locality is central to the message. Marge Mayo and Paul Henderson provide a historical and policy context for the recent expansion of community practice. Hugh Butcher looks at community practice in terms of organisational and individual development. Sarah Banks examines the complicated ethical issues involved in projects shaped by local residents. Other chapters deal with participative evaluation – increasingly a critical feature of area-based programmes.
The book is for managers and practitioners and helps understand “going local” and how it will help reshape organisations as they redirect their energies toward providing neighbourhood-based services.
John Pierson is senior lecturer, institute of social work and applied social studies, Staffordshire University.