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, https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/doe/council-circular-lg2815.pdf