Community Led Planning enables communities to research and debate the needs and aspirations of their area, and take responsibility for making things happen.
Community led Planning can operate at different levels and be called a number of things. A process can be defined as community led planning when the community itself is involved in taking action to develop and implement a ‘Vision for how their community can be better’.
There are a lot of organisations and councils who are supporting communities who participate in community led planning across Hampshire.
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This checklist provides a summary of issues to consider when developing your community led plan and is intended for use by those facilitating or running a community led planning process .More detail is available in the Parish and Community Planning Toolkit available from Community Action Hampshire
The vision that is developed should
Remember that the issues coming out of the community led plan need to be endorsed by both the community as a whole and by those organisations from whom you may need help and support. E.g. Parish, District/Borough Council, County Council, National Park Authorities.
This stage is about setting the scene effectively; getting the right people involved in the right way and planning the process. The actions should be as follows :-
This is the main involvement stage. At the end of this stage you will have some clear and well understood priority issues and areas for action that are the key ones which will make a difference to your community.
The action plan should be as follows :-
Once all the information is collected :
Things to remember during this part of the process
When you write your action plan it will have 2 sections covering a list of issues which have come back with broad support from any group or the whole community.
These need to be split into 2 groups - prioritise the issues on both lists
Involving the community as much as possible, resolve how these projects are to be taken forward.
Identify . . .
Discuss the issues listed in section 2 with your elected member and clarify any details.
Ensure your issues and plans are endorsed by your elected members
Some of the issues may prove to be long-term/ intractable problems and need to be recognised as such.
Outline the issues and why they are a priority for your community
Although historically communities have often felt dependent on public services to deliver the basic things which make a difference to their quality of life, communities can become much more active in resolving their own problems. In fact often they themselves are key to doing this.
Communication and working together with those that deliver public services and support in the area can also have positive effects for both sides by helping them to understand each other better and so improve relationships. It can
The process itself enables communities to work together to solve their own problems where they can, especially the smaller more local issues that are unlikely to be recognised as a priority at a higher level.
The community led planning process should give Councillors an opportunity to get to know their communities needs and priorities.
It also gives them the opportunity to support those needs and make a difference to improving the quality of the lives of the people they represent.
Community led planning can provide information about particular communities which is invaluable, and when incorporated with a technical assessment will provide an understanding of local and strategic priorities.
Focusing too much on producing a document:
Community led planning is a process, not a document, and it is the process itself that delivers the full benefit of outcomes for the community.
Getting hijacked by loud voices
There are always some people in any community who are very clear and vocal about their needs and issues. The challenge of a good community led planning process is to find out the needs and issues of those who do not shout so loud as well. Particular attention needs to be paid to the vulnerable or marginalized who may not know how to express their needs.
Rushing the process
Not allowing sufficient time to access all the evidence will reduce your ability to produce a credible action plan so that what you end up with is a wish list that has little influence on the decisions of funders and service providers. .
Jumping too quickly to solutions
People often try to explain a problem they have by telling you what they think the solution should be. It is important to try and get to the real issues and make sure you understand them well before you try to resolve a particular problem .
Failing to involve elected Councillors
Although there may be many things that can be achieved by the community itself there will also be issues where help or action will be required from local Councils and other organisations. It is important to involve those whose support may be crucial to getting that help. Locally elected members can give a lot of support and advice in this area. They often have information you may need about what has already been tried and what is possible.
Running out of steam
If you fail to keep the process alive by updating people and getting new people involved it is easy for those people who started the process to flag or for the whole thing to become reliant on one person whose circumstances mean they suddenly cannot do it any more. Always encourage people who are motivated by specific themes and actions to get involved. Communicate with everyone on the good news stories and what is happening if things take time.
Making an action plan that is stuck in time
The action plan (often called the Community Plan) needs to be seen as a live document and should be reviewed and updated regularly.
Nominate a key individual who is going to take responsibility for each action and make it their job to report on how it is progressing.
Missing quick wins
There will be some issues which are not the highest priority but could actually be resolved with minimal effort - Achieve these first as they will make a difference in the shortest space of time. Tell people about them to keep them interested as some actions are bound to be more long term
Thinking too short term
In a world dominated by external economic and environmental influences, the development of the plan should take account of the longer term vision and look at the barriers and opportunities that may arise in the future.
There are a range of organisations who will give you support as well as advice in relation to community led planning.
This includes a number of District and Borough Councils who are active in supporting community led planning