Community Planning Guidance Consultation Event

Yesterday NICVA hosted a consultation event on the recently announced Community Planning Guidelines with the Department of the Environment.

The presentation from DoE is available for download below.

You can access the consultation document here.The deadline for responses is the 9th of March.

There was agreement that local government reform and community planning in particular represent an exciting opportunity and it was essential this is viewed as a new method to do things better, not cheaper. Further this is a great chance for increased civic leadership at a local level.

However there were a number of concerns raised by those in attending the event including:

  • The potential for regional disparity across the 11 councils and the impact that could have on the continuity of a range of services.
  • How equality and good relations will be embedded in the process and how it will be monitored.
  • The need for local councils to look to elsewhere for best practice, in this instance particularly Scotland and Wales where a wealth of knowledge already exists in how best to engage with the voluntary and community sector.
  • The lack of mechanism for a community to ‘appeal’ should they feel that they have not been properly consulted with.
  • It is not clear if there will be any regional overview of the process or any judgement made on the quality of a community plan once it is produced. Nor is there a mechanism for measuring the impact of community plans.
  • Importance of the voluntary and community sectors voice being heard on partnership panels to assist in ensuring the citizens voice is heard.
  • It is key that there is an evidence base for the content of the community plan.
  • There is no assistance for the collaborative work that will have to be undertaken to develop the community plan. People do not naturally know how to work together; relationships need to be carefully nurtured and facilitated.

Responses to the consultation should be made to:

Local Government Policy Division
Causeway Exchange
4th Floor
1-7 Bedford Street
Townparks, Belfast
BT2 7EG

Email: [email protected]