The Committee considered the undernoted report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues
1.1 At the meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee on 17th August 2018, Members approved an Expression of Interest for Belfast to participate in Phase VII of the World Health Organisation (WHO) European Healthy Cities Network.
1.2 Members also agreed at the meeting of the People and Communities Committee on 4th June 2019, that a review be undertaken of the City and Neighbourhood Services Department’s ongoing partnership agreements with a focus on alignment with the Belfast Agenda and value for money. Included within this review was the partnership agreement with Belfast Healthy Cities, who facilitate the city’s membership of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network.
1.3 Furthermore, at the meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee on 21st February 2020, Members approved an extension of the current partnership agreement with Belfast Healthy Cities, until 30th September 2020 to allow for the submission of the application for Phase VII of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and the completion of the partnership review with the Belfast Healthy Cities, including an initial period for the transition and implementation of recommendations from the review.
1.4 Progress on the above has been adversely impacted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with both areas of work having to be temporarily paused and timeframes revised to provide additional time for completion due to ongoing restrictions. This report outlines action taken in developing the Phase VII application and key priorities to be delivered during the Phase VII period. The report also sets out a revised timeframe for the completion of the partnership review with Belfast Healthy Cities and subsequent next steps.
1.5 Members are asked to endorse the attached application and approve a six month extension to the current partnership agreement with Belfast Healthy Cities, to allow for the completion of both the Phase VII application process and the partnership review.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
· Note the content of the report;
· Endorse the Phase VII application and identified priorities and recommend the Lord Mayor formally supports the application on behalf of the city;
· Agree to receive a follow up report outlining the outcomes of the review of Council’s partnership agreement with Belfast Healthy Cities; and
· Agree to extend the current partnership agreement with Belfast Healthy Cities to 31st March 2021.
3.0 Main report
3.1 Members approved the completion of an Expression of Interest for Belfast to re-designate as a WHO Healthy City and participate in Phase VII of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network at the meeting of the Strategic Policy and Resources Committee on 17th August 2018. The Expression of Interest letter was accepted by WHO and Belfast was invited to submit an application as a city that had been active in delivering on Phase VI themes.
3.2 The second stage of the application process involved the Lord Mayor hosting a workshop on 22nd November 2019 with key stakeholders in the city to identify the priorities to be included within the Phase VII application for Belfast. There are three overarching goals within Phase VII:
· Goal 1: Fostering health and well-being for all and reducing health inequities;
· Goal 2: Leading by example nationally, regionally and globally; and
· Goal 3: Supporting implementation of WHO strategic priorities.
3.3 And six core themes:
Theme 1: Investing in the people who make up our cities;
· Theme 2: Designing urban places that improve health and well-being;
Theme 3: Greater participation and partnerships for health and well-being;
· Theme 4: Improved community prosperity and access to common goods and services;
· Theme 5: Promoting peace and security through inclusive societies; and
· Theme 6: Protect the planet from degradation, leading by example, including through sustainable consumption and production.
3.4 A full copy of the application form is available on mod.gov and a summary of the four priority areas identified from the Phase VII workshop and to be addressed during the period of Phase VII (2019-2024) are:
Greening the City: Intersectoral partnerships for healthy places. The overall goal is to develop and deliver healthier and more equitable urban environments for all citizens and generate global influence.
Community Prosperity: Caring places that enhance health and well-being and reduce health inequalities. The overall goal is to change public policy to include interventions to generate prosperity in left behind communities, strengthening community assets, creating caring places and reducing health inequalities.
Inequalities Training: Building public health capacity at the local level. The overall goal is to increase capacity at operational and strategic levels across sectors for the greater leadership for health and well-being and to support organisations to shape policy and deliver action that will improve health and well-being for all and reduce inequalities.
Promoting Healthy Transport (strengthening partnership and coherence). The overall goals are to increase physical and mental well-being through promotion of good quality active travel infrastructure; and generate the evidence to support car reduction, improving air quality and increasing the use of public space for improved health.
3.5 WHO require the Phase VII application to be endorsed by Council through the Lord Mayor’s office. Members are asked to support the application for Belfast to apply for re-designation to Phase VII of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network (2019-2024). Subject to approval, the attached application would be submitted to WHO by the Belfast Healthy Cities office, on behalf of the Lord Mayor.
3.6 Belfast’s membership to the WHO European Healthy Cities Network is facilitated by Belfast Healthy Cities, who have led on the development and drafting of the Phase VII application. Belfast Healthy Cities are an independent partnership organisation, recognised as having charitable status by The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland. BHC is governed by a Board of Directors, elected annually and representing the public, university, voluntary and community sectors and funded by a range of partners including Council, Public Health Agency (PHA), Belfast Health and Social Care Trust (BHSCT) and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE).
3.7 In the spirit of ‘collaborative gain’ the above funding partners agreed to undertake a collective review of funding arrangements with Belfast Healthy Cities, with a focus on alignment to the priorities of the Belfast Agenda and value for money. Independent external consultancy support was secured to undertake the review and a timeframe agreed and presented to the People and Communities Committee on 4th February 2021, noting completion of the review by the late May 2020.
3.8 Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a collective decision was taken by the funding partners of Belfast Healthy Cities, to pause the review while organisational efforts were re-aligned to responding to the emergency situation and to ensure maximum involvement of key stakeholders in the review. The funding partners have now agreed that the time is right to un-pause the review and have set a revised timeframe for the completion of the review and transition and implementation of potential recommendations.
3.9 It is envisaged the review will be completed by early January 2021, with a report brought back to the both the People and Communities Committee and Strategic Policy and Resources Committee in February 2021, outlining the outcome of the review, recommended actions and implementation timescales.
3.10 Members are asked to approve an extension of the current partnership agreement with Belfast Healthy Cities, until 31st March 2021 to allow for the completion of review, submission of the application for Phase VII of the WHO European Healthy Cities Network and to provide an initial period for transition and implementation of the recommendations.
Financial and Resource Implications
3.11 Extending the current partnership agreement with Belfast Healthy Cities as recommended, would have a financial implication of £40,647. This has been included within the revenue estimates for 2020/21 and does not represent any growth.
Equality or Good Relations Implications/
Rural Needs Assessment
3.12 There are no Equality or Good Relations Implications and no Rural Needs Assessment required for the recommendations outlined above.”
The Committee adopted the recommendations.