‘Paper Tigers’: a critical review of Statements of Community Involvement in England

‘Paper Tigers’: a critical review of Statements of Community Involvement in England - a report from University of Reading and commissioned by Civic Voice.

In the Civic Voice 2020-23 manifesto, Civic Voice committed to a campaign to strengthen Statements of Community Involvement (SCIs) to set out more clearly how local planning authorities and developers should be are expected to meaningfully engage with local communities on planning issues.

This report presented here by the University of Reading is part of a study to better understand the form, use and potential of SCIs (Statements of Community Involvement), or similar structuring documents, as a means to frame meaningful community engagement in planning. The work is part of a research partnership between the University of Reading and Civic Voice

Overall the research has confirmed that SCIs are an existing tool to frame participation in planning and the underlying idea of a frame of reference for all parties involved is sound. Yet SCIs have not realised their potential and there are several reasons for this, which the report discusses. The report recommends that SCIs are kept in the planning system but that there are significant issues to be addressed.

Refreshed and reframed SCIs could be an important element in achieving the 2020 Planning White Paper aim for ‘world-class civic engagement and proactive plan-making

In this final report, the University of Reading have outlined some conclusions and recommendations to keep in step with the pace of national planning reform.

The report can be accessed via: ‘Paper Tigers’: a critical review of Statements of Community Involvement in England


* Thanks to the volunteers who completed part of the desk study data capture element of this work.

* This is part of a broader set of work being undertaken by the University of Reading research team funded by Research England.