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Community Planning

Community Planning

Background and Context

Community planning aims to improve the connection between regional, local and neighbourhood levels through partnership working and more integrated use of resources, with a focus on collaboration between organisations for the benefit of citizens. The purpose of community planning is to develop a long term strategy for the area and all its citizens based on a thorough analysis of needs and priorities, and opportunities for addressing them. This should generate a 10 to 15 year vision for improving social, economic and environmental wellbeing, and contributing to sustainable development.

The Education Authority (EA) is one of thirteen statutory partners outlined in the Local Government (Community Planning Partners) Order (NI) 2016 with a duty to participate and assist in the community planning process.

While the council has responsibility for facilitating and managing the community planning process, the development of and delivery on the community plan is a shared task between all partners and the council.

The EA is committed to participating in community planning and recognises the fundamental contribution of education to communities’ and individuals’ lives, as well as to the economy, in Northern Ireland. The EA recognises that participation in community planning will create opportunities for outcome focused collaboration and innovation across the public, voluntary/community and private sectors.  It will also enhance the potential of schools to harness the support of local communities, other statutory bodies and the community and voluntary sectors in supporting the schools’ objectives, consistent with education policies such as Every School a Good School, Sustainable Schools and Providing Pathways.

Development of the Community Plan

All partners and stakeholders within each Council area has worked to develop a draft Community Plan which is now subject to a period of consultation. Whilst many statutory partners, community, voluntary and private sector groups have contributed through partnership meetings and working groups, a further opportunity to provide a consultation response is now afforded to all organisations and members of the public. The EA would encourage engagement and participation of schools in attending such launch events and contributing to the consultation process in ensuring that the Community Plan is representative of local needs and priorities.

It is anticipated that the Community Plans will be operational by April 2017, with many opportunities to engage at local level in developing appropriate actions and delivery models that will contribute to overall well-being.

Should you require any further information, please contact Nigel Freeburn, School Development Service, Ballymena Office, 02825661336. You will also find more useful information on the Department for Communities website,

The following links provide information specific to each council area such as launch events and dates for responses to be received: 

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council

Ards and North Down Borough Council

Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council

Belfast City Council

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council

Derry City and Strabane District Council

Fermanagh and Omagh District Council

Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

Mid Ulster District Council

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council


The Education and Library Boards (ELBs) were dissolved on 31 March 2015. The Education Authority was established on 01 April 2015 and is now responsible for all of the operational functions previously carried out by the five ELBs in accordance with the Education Orders.

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