Community Development Standards

6 Key Areas – 25 Standards – 5 Values

What are Community Development National Occupational Standards?

Community Development National Occupational Standards (CDNOS) describe what a person needs to do, know and understand in their job in order to carry out their role in a consistent and competent way.  Essentially, CDNOS assist in the development of the workforce by promoting good practice, bringing together the skills, knowledge, and values that underpin the work.

The 2015 version is the fourth generation of CDNOS. They synthesise a huge amount of collective thinking, based upon a solid history of practice experience across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. They have been revised in consultation with a wide range of employers, practitioners, and stakeholders to ensure they are relevant and fit for purpose in each jurisdiction.

Who Uses the CDNOS?

The Community Development National Occupational Standards provide a guiding framework for practice across a range of roles, settings and levels of responsibility.  They are applicable to all those across the range and diversity of the community development workforce. For example:

  • Community development workers with generic or specific briefs, e.g. neighbourhood workers, community development and health workers
  • Community development activists and volunteers
  • Community development employers, and managers, e.g. voluntary management committee members or paid managers
  • Other professionals using community development approaches, e.g. health development workers, neighbourhood housing workers, tenant engagement workers, development workers in women’s centres, family centres and so on
  • Community development trainers and learning providers
  • Policy makers and funders of community development programmes.
Young women drinking coffee in the office

What do the CDNOS contain


The CDNOS contain the following:

  • Definition and key purpose of community development
  • 5 Key Values
  • 6 Key Areas (outlining the main areas of practice)
  • 25 Standards (containing statements of what you need to be able to do, know and understand)
  • Examples of values in practice.

Community Development is a long-term value-based process which aims to address imbalances in power and bring about change founded on social justice, equality and inclusion.

The process enables people to organise and work together to:

  • identify their own needs and aspirations
  • take action to exert influence on the decisions which affect their lives
  • improve the quality of their own lives, the communities in which they live, and societies of which they are a part

Click on the menu link above or head to our DownLoad Centre to download the latest guide and CDNOS