Community Planning is a major new statutory responsibility. Following the Northern Ireland local government reform, each of the new councils in Northern Ireland is now responsible for Community Planning. This reform means that Northern Ireland council responsibilities are in line with England, Scotland and Wales.
Each council will formulate it’s own Community Plan. This plan will help to develop the overall long-term direction for each of the new councils. The concept of the Community Plan is to improve public services with the aim of better meeting local community needs. Education, safety, health, leisure and town planning are some of the areas to be addressed in the community plan.
Although each council is responsible for it’s own plan, in order to maintain consistency across Northern Ireland, a Regional Partnership Panel with representatives from each council will be created.
Representatives will listen to local people to find out what is needed, agree on urgent matters, and agree how to deal with urgent matters with available funds and keep all stakeholders informed of the process.
As the Community Plan is to be based on evidence, the first step is to find out what the community believes is needed for the local area. Once method of listening to the local community is via public consultation. Public consultations will be required with residents, businesses, a wide range of voluntary and community organisations, partner agencies and other stakeholders. The plan also includes community needs found using through local data and insights.
Experienced in public consultation, CARD Group is ideally placed to help local councils gather accurate evidence. For more details, please visit card-group.com.