In partnership with

Community agency, control and wellbeing

June 22, 2023  
In partnership with

Giving communities greater agency has been linked to greater wellbeing.

Produced in partnership with What Works Centre for Wellbeing, this report reviews the evidence related to community agency, control and power and their effects on community wellbeing.

It identifies several common features that influence collective agency, control and power at the community level:

  • Opportunities for community connections
  • Ability to make decisions
  • Maturity of community agency, including existing relationships

The research provides good indication that improved community agency and control can lead to improved community wellbeing.

Other key insights:

  • Communities have different starting points and do not necessarily respond in the same way when exercising their agency and control.
  • The picture is mixed: 14 of the 27 studies reported some neutral or negative impacts.
  • There are evidence gaps for evaluation of the long-term impact of place-based interventions and more needs to be known about the potential “backfire effects” of community agency and control being limited.

This research can be used to shape further research and policymaking, as well as guide funding decisions and practitioner activity.

June 22, 2023
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