Community Relations Councils
A Community Relations Council (CRC) is a formal organization consisting of representatives of all major interests and organized to work together for common purposes. Community development is a process where community members collaborate to identify, analyze and influence key contributors to the quality of community life, including the state of community relations.
Quality of Community Life
Quality of Community Life is indicated by the psychological, physical, educational, social, financial and spiritual well-being of community members. Key contributors to the Quality of Community Life are as follows:
• Social Environment
• Justice and Equality
• Political and Legal Factors
• Natural Environment
• Economic Opportunity
Each of these contributors are the perception of, response to and management of human differences (patterns of engagement between different groups). Please refer to the Developing Communities PowerPoint for a diagram. The Quality of Community Life Initiative is to further develop and expand the use of the systems approach to human engagement, community assessment and community development.
About Community Relations Councils
Community Relations Councils involves the gathering of individuals who want to resolve problems within a community. Participation is voluntary, not compulsory, and the council’s common concern goes beyond the ability of any individual citizen, family or organization to solve the problems of community life.
Functions of Community Relations Council are as follow:
• Issues/crisis management
• Group relations management
• Events management
• Community Assessment and Advisory System
• Information capture/dissemination and fostering communication
A local Community Relations Council may serve as a forum for the hearing of citizen’s grievances and complaints relative to human relations with a view toward solving problems; a conciliation mechanism between factions experiencing difference, and a bridge between local officials and citizens. The local council is a conciliatory body resolving tension, conflict, and preventing problems of concern to the community before they become a State or Federal crisis situation requiring official intervention. The Community Relations Department thereafter assists with issues of discrimination in police relations, unit education, business practices and other non-employment issues reported from the CRC.
The Community Relations Department makes an effort to visit each Community Relations Council twice a year; typically one monthly CRC meeting and one event held by the CRC. The department conducts monthly follow-ups with each council to inquire about the sustainability of each council and to be sure each council remains active for their community. If mediation or consultations is required, the Community Relations Department staff will intervene.
The South Carolina Human Affairs Commission has long recognized the fact that harmonious relationships within our communities has always been very important toward ensuring that a high quality of life is available to everyone, regardless of his or her position in life. Human Relations Councils, officially recognized and chartered by SCHAC, are comprised of individuals representing diverse backgrounds who strive to bring about harmony, understanding and mutual respect among the people of the community.
Best Practices Manual
Community Relations Training for Councils
2017 SCHACRA Conference
US Department of Justice: Civil Rights Division
Advancing the Conversation Event
2017 South Carolina Conference for Community Relations and Development