Agenda item


            (Mr. J. Tully, Director of City and Organisational Strategy, attended in connection with this item).


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1        The purpose of this report is to update the committee on the progress of the Belfast Agenda Review, including the action planning phase.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       The Committee is asked to:


                                            i          Note the following report which was submitted to the March SP&R Committee outlining progress of the development of the refreshed Belfast Agenda Strategy document and supporting four-year Delivery Action Plans.

                                          ii          Consider and provide comments on the emerging strategic intents and measures of success (stretch goals) as set out in slides 12-22 in Appendix 1.

                                        iii          Note the proposed next steps and timeline as set out in slide 33 in Appendix 1; and

                                        iv          Note the plans for continued elected member engagement, detailed in section 3.5.


3.0       Main report


3.1       The following report was submitted to April’s meeting of the Strategic Policy & Resources (SP&R) Committee and sets out the emerging strategic framework for the refreshed Belfast Agenda. Given the cross-cutting nature of the priorities, objectives and targets which will provide the focus for community planning over the period 2022-26, it was agreed to bring this to the attention of members of the People & Communities Committee.


            The November 2021 SP&R Committee received an update on the emerging findings and recommendations following the initial phase of Belfast Agenda: Continuing the Conversation engagement to inform the refreshed Belfast Agenda (BA) for the period 2022-2026.  As reported at the November meeting, there was broad agreement that the existing long-term vision and outcomes of the BA remain relevant, and the proposed priorities for focus were the things that stakeholders and communities believed community planning could help address over the next 4-year period. There had been feedback in relation to how some of the priorities had been framed and the need for them to be easily understood. As a result, some minor changes had been made to the framing of the priority areas such as, changing ‘economic recovery’ to ‘Sustainable and Inclusive Economic Growth’. A summary of the current Belfast Agenda priority framework (which reflects many of the changes) is attached at Appendix 1.


3.2       Bringing focus and commitment to delivery


            Building on the recommendations and consensus reached through Phase I, the Community Planning Partnership (CPP) and council has committed to co-design specific and measurable actions plan(s) which would underpin the priority areas of focus.  Subsequently, a small group of core partners (cross-sectoral) has been brought together to help further develop the approach to co-designing each of the priority areas and cross-cutting themes. Each task and finish group were responsible for analysing the range of outputs from phase 1 of the ‘Belfast Agenda: Continuing the Conversation’ engagement process; assessing relevant strategies, plans and local intelligence (including information received through the call for evidence); feedback from the community and Belfast Agenda Board engagement workshops; online and paper-based survey results; and the current delivery plans of existing Belfast Agenda Boards.


            Based on this initial analysis, partners prepared a strategic framework to help bring focus and shape the co-designed action plans consisting of:


1.     What we are trying to achieve over the next 4 years (strategic intent);

2.     How will we measure success (stretch goals); and

3.     How will we realise such success (SMART Action Plan(s).


            Figure 1 below illustrates this framework and how a structured and informed approach is being implemented with partners to ensure there is a strong thread between each of the priority areas, ambitions, measures of success and importantly the focus for collaborative action.


Figure 1: strategic framework adopted by partners to bring focus and shape co-designed action plans


3.3       Output from this initial exercise will inform the next phase of the Continuing the Conversation engagement programme, where we will continue to work with partners and communities to co-design delivery plans. This represents an ongoing and complex process, which requires participation and involvement across sectors and communities at multiple levels, which has resulted in some priorities being more developed than others. The emerging frameworks for each of the priorities are attached as part of the presentation attached at Appendix 1 (slides 12 to 22) which had been discussed with the All-Party Working group on Community Planning when it met on 23 February 2022. Please note that since the working group meeting of 23 February, the strategic intents and stretch goals have been further developed, particularly the City Development elements following the Board meeting on Friday 11 March. This reflects the dynamic nature of the co- design process which remains a work in progress. Members are asked to consider and provide feedback on the emerging frameworks outlined by 15 April 2022 to This feedback will then be reflected in future iterations and can be discussed further with members as the strategy is further refined.


3.4       As discussed with the All-Party Working Group, it is proposed that the timeline for developing the refreshed Belfast Agenda strategy document and underpinning delivery plans includes sufficient time for direct and genuine engagement with partners, communities/ communities of interest and specific sectors including the business and private sector over April and May 2022. In addition, more formal and intensive consultation activities are planned on the strategy document as well as further engagement to co-design the action plans during May and June 2022. Slide 33 in Appendix 1 outlines the proposed next steps and timeline for this process. It is felt that the timeline will allow for greater input and enable valuable buy-in to the emerging plans.


3.5       Political engagement with elected members


            In addition to the All-Party Working Group on Community Planning on 23 February 2022, and subsequently the Strategic Policy, and Resources Committee, it is also intended to bring a similar paper, presentation, and discussions to the Social Policy Working Group in April 2022. The intention would be to bring a further iteration of the draft strategy and emerging action plans to Party Group Briefings and Committee in April 2022 for further consideration, input, and refinement. It is important to note that the feedback and recommendations from Members received following the All-Party Working Group on Community Planning meeting (23 Feb) will be factored into the continued refinement of the BA Refresh.



3.6       Financial and Resource Implications


            Any financial implications arising from this report will be covered from existing budgets. The review process will continue to involve the participation of all community planning partners, who will need to commit their resources to the review process and the agreed action plans.


3.7       Equality or Good Relations Implications /

            Rural Needs Assessment


            It is recommended that the consultation and engagement activities to review the Belfast Agenda will take account of the draft Audit of Inequalities and include specific sessions with targeted harder to reach groups to ensure that equality implications are considered as part of the review process.”


            The Committee noted the update provided.


Supporting documents: