Local government and its partners are leading the way in Northern Ireland through partnership working and collaboration in the delivery of community plans, according to the Carnegie UK Trust.
The Carnegie UK Trust (CUKT) is an organisation with global influence whose aim is to improve wellbeing across the UK and Ireland. The Trust played a central role in the incorporation of wellbeing at the heart of the draft Programme for Government in Northern Ireland, and is now supporting local councils and their partners with embedding wellbeing at a local government level.
The reform of local government in 2014 saw the reduction in the number of councils from 26 to 11, as well as new Community Planning powers at a local level, giving councils and their partners power to plan for the needs of their area based on improving the wellbeing of the citizens they represent.
November 2019 marks a milestone in this journey, as the councils and their partners – the Community Planning Partnerships – have developed Statements of Progress to communicate progress on the ambitions they set out in their respective Community Plans.
Speaking at an event to mark the progress of the last two years, Lauren Pennycook of CUKT said: “Community Planning in Northern Ireland is demonstrating the real power of collaboration and engagement across a range of partners, and with citizens. Although we are only two years into this journey, it is clear that this approach can deliver positive outcomes for citizens, and indeed for services.
“Through partnership working, the Community Planning Partnerships are demonstrating the positive impact of working together, pooling resources and how we can use data to plan for the future.
“Although it is early days in the process, we have seen some exciting examples of where Community Planning is already bearing fruit. And whilst some of the ambitions that Community Planning seeks to address will take time, what is clear is that councils and their partners are engaging with citizens much more than ever before. Whether that is asking them what they think money should be spent on through participatory budgeting or telling local people about their plans on bus stops, on social media and even in the cinema, the focus is on working in partnership to improve community wellbeing.”