The Director of City and Organisational Strategy submitted for the Committee’s consideration the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues
1.1 The purpose of this report is to update the Committee on the development and publication of a Belfast Agenda Statement of Progress in November 2021, which is a legislative requirement for the Council and its community planning partners.
2.1 The Committee is requested to:
i. note the statutory requirement for the Council and its community planning partners to publish a second Statement of Progress in November 2021;
ii. note the process of engagement and input from community planning partners which has led to the development of the Statement of Progress;
iii. approve the draft Statement of Progress, a copy of which is available on the Council website,and
iv. agree that the Statement of Progress be published in compliance with legislative requirements, with any revisions made by the Committee being included.
3.0 Main Report
3.1 Members will be aware that The Local Government Act (NI) 2014 requires the Council and its community planning partners to make arrangements to monitor progress against meeting the objectives of the Belfast Agenda and the effectiveness of the actions taken in aiming to achieve these objectives. The legislation also requires the Council to publish a report (Statement of Progress) assessing progress towards the outcomes and actions taken every two years.
3.2 The second statement of progress is due to be published by the end of November 2021. In recognition of the pressures which local Councils, and community planning partners, have faced over last 18-24 months in responding to Covid-19 the Department for Communities have indicated that they are content that Community Planning Partnerships adopt a light touch approach when producing their statement of progress reports.
3.3 Nevertheless, the statement of progress provides an opportunity for partners to update the public on the actions that have been undertaken or are ongoing through the community planning process. In addition, it demonstrates the impact of such actions on communities and local people as well as their contribution to the achievement of the ambitions and outcomes outlined in the Belfast Agenda.
3.4 The draft statement of progress (SOP) has been developed in association with and input from all community planning partners and highlights a number of case studies and noteworthy achievements showcasing the work of partners over the last 24 months including responding to the Covid-19 pandemic. It should be noted that any additional feedback received on the draft SOP will be reflected in the document prior to publication.
3.5 While the Covid-19 pandemic has adversely impacted many of the targets and further widened inequalities in the city, there are several successes worth communicating to the public. It also helps identify key challenges and opportunities facing the city and helps shape the focus of refreshed Belfast Agenda.
3.6 The key elements of the statement of progress (in line with DfC guidance) include a restatement of the vision, a short narrative provided on what our long-term outcomes are trying to achieve and why they are important; recent data for our population indicators which provide a sense of progress towards the outcomes; and an update on the collaborative actions being progressed by the Partnership. A summary of the key highlights and achievements delivered over the past two years is set out of pages 6-7 of the attached Statement of Progress.
3.7 It is important to note that there has been positive engagement with Elected Members through the Belfast Agenda Members’ Reference Group and the recent Members’ workshop (3 September 2021) on the refresh of the Belfast Agenda. This engagement has highlighted early consensus around important city challenges which will provide priority areas for collaborative focus with city partners as outlined int the SOP.
Financial and Resource Implications
3.8 There are no additional resource implications as a result of this report. Alignment of resources to the delivery of the Belfast Agenda is part of the ongoing organisational and financial planning processes.
Equality or Good Relations Implications /
Rural Needs Assessment
3.9 There is no equality, good relations of rural need implications in this report.”
The Committee adopted the recommendations.