Good Practice in Community Relations

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Good Practice in Community Relations

Part of the remit of the Research Branch of CCRU has been to commission evaluation reports on the work of community relations organisations that have received funding through the CCRU. During 1998 a research project was established which included conducting reviews of these evaluation reports along with a range of related resource material, both published and unpublished.

General background information on this project is contained below. This page will eventually contain links to several related pages. Amongst these will be details of the typology used to categorise the various evaluation reports. The reports covered will also be listed with their details included in the main database. There will be links from the database to any extracts of the original evaluation reports. Finally, the web page containing the extracts from the reports may also have a link to a review written about the original reports and the lessons that can be learnt about community relations practice.

Details of the Good Practice Research Project

Based on preliminary research and the ongoing evaluation programme of CCRU there are believed to be a number of organisations who are currently leading the way in good community relations practice in Northern Ireland (e.g. NUS/USI, AISU, St Columb's Park House, Future Ways, CRC). These organisations have neither the time or the resources to effectively promote their models of practice, process and delivery. The knowledge of these groups/ organisations can be maximised for the benefit of all Community Relations practitioners (e.g. District Council Community Relation Officers, and community/ voluntary groups), including those outside of Northern Ireland, through this research project which will be able to describe in detail and document the methods and resources used by these groups.

This research study will also aim to draw together experiences from a range of organisations who will be able to share their skills with others, and would enable documentation of not only what makes a successful community relations project, but also how to deal with problematic and difficult situations.


Phase 1, based on a literature review, will begin by identifying criteria by which principles of good practice can be judged.

Phase 2 will commence by identifying the range of projects which currently operate in the field of community relations. Using a postal questionnaire community relations projects will be asked to provide information which would allow for the criteria for good practice to be initially assessed against their work. From this survey a range of projects which best comply with good practice will then be selected for the third phase of the project. In particular we would hope to identify those projects which tackle the 'hard issues' associated with community relations work in Northern Ireland.

Phase 3 of the study will involve semi-structured interviews with key personnel which will be conducted with the selected sample of projects. These interviews will be used to determine whether the project had developed any additional principles of good practice which could be used in the further development of the principles identified in Phase 1. The semi-structured interviews will also be used to extract 'in-head' experience from practitioners - a valuable source of information as identified in a recent scoping study by Prof. Seamus Dunn at UUC on the subject of the collation of a community relations archive.

It is expected that the outputs from this study will make a significant contribution to the population of a Community Relations Archive, as recommended in the scoping study detailed above. Lessons unlocked from evaluations and 'in-head' experience will be collated and documented as part of the design of this study and will thus be of significant benefit to the community relations practice section of the Archive.

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