DSD Briefing Paper on the Urban Regeneration and Community Development Framework
Clerk to the Social Development Committee
Northern Ireland Assembly
| Henry Johnston - Director Urban Regeneration Strategy Directorate
1 Cromac Place
Gasworks Business Park
||028 9082 9018
||028 9082 9389
24th June 2011
Officials are scheduled to brief the Committee at its meeting of 30th June 2011 on the Urban Regeneration and Community Development Framework.
Please find attached detailed briefing paper (Appendix A) on the Urban Regeneration and Community Development Framework and a synopsis of the key points (Appendix B).
Urban Regeneration Strategy Directorate
Briefing to the Social Development Committee
UPDATE ON THE URBAN REGENERATION AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK IN NORTHERN IRELAND
In 2009, the former DSD Minister approved a project to take forward the creation of a ‘Strategy and Policy Framework’ in relation to urban regeneration and community development. The main impetus at the time was to satisfy the requirements of the Review of Public Administration (RPA) which had proposed the transfer of some of DSD’s responsibilities to 11 new Councils in May 2011. There was also an internal DSD impetus to establish an overarching framework, for the first time, in which our urban regeneration and community development policies would sit under three broad themes:
- Regenerating towns and cities;
- Tackling deprivation; and
- Building strong, cohesive and welcoming communities.
2. A consortium was recruited to provide academic support, led by Colm Bradley of Community Places and Dr Brendan Murtagh of Queens University Belfast. Over a twelve month period until January 2011 they carried out an analysis of current urban regeneration and community development policy in NI and further afield and made a number of proposals to formulate a new overarching framework. Their research was informed by a series of interviews, with key stakeholders in the public, private and third sector, and by two seminar events. An interdepartmental information session was also held to update other departments with our thinking on the way forward. Early in this work, in March 2010, we provided the Social Development Committee with a briefing.
3. The work on the Framework had progressed substantially when the decision was taken to postpone the roll out of RPA. This meant that we had to revisit our work and refocus it for a non-RPA environment. With the onset of purdah and the Assembly election in May 2011 it was not possible to maintain the momentum towards public consultation and so it was decided to await the election of the new mandate.
4. The draft Framework has at its core the overarching vision to: “boost the economy and tackle disadvantage through the creation of confident, competitive and connected communities”. It is organised around four objectives which aim to provide the foundation for addressing the underlying structural problems of urban areas and help in the creation of confident, competitive and connected communities. These objectives are supported by two enabling objectives which will help create a more conducive policy and financial environment.
5. The four objectives to address the structural problems are:
i. To develop confident and engaged communities;
ii. To tackle poverty and promote inclusion in our most disadvantaged areas;
iii. To strengthen the competitiveness of our towns and cities; and
iv. To effectively connect disadvantaged areas to existing and emerging economic and social opportunities.
The two enabling objectives are:
i. To maximise the potential of urban regeneration and community development by establishing a strong and innovative policy and financial environment; and
ii. To develop skilled and knowledgeable practitioners in regeneration and community development.
6. Collectively, the Framework is seeking to ensure:
- a more targeted anti-poverty approach by better addressing the underlying causes of deprivation and exclusion;
- a stronger emphasis on the outcomes of the resources spent on urban regeneration and community development;
- that people are at the heart of shaping the regeneration of their own communities;
- that urban regeneration is delivered at an appropriate scale that will maximise the benefit to those currently marginalised from opportunities, jobs and investments;
- that we create areas which are economically competitive, but which have social justice and the principle of equality at their heart;
- that we have the skills to deliver more effective policy that values experience and engagement with the community; and
- that all possible resources are used to develop more sustainable forms of urban regeneration and community renewal across Northern Ireland.
7. In the creation of the Framework we have taken account of the growing consensus that the public sector requires a greater focus on priority outcomes, delivered in more innovative and cost effective ways. As such, a key part of the Framework will be the ‘Outcomes Approach’.
8. The outcomes approach will evolve in parallel with the progress of RPA – however, in the initial stages of implementing this approach DSD will identify from a menu of outcomes (through a process of community engagement and evidence gathering) priority outcomes for each respective area. This approach will make it much easier to evaluate progress and strengthen delivery.
9. A strategic monitoring and evaluation function will also be created in the shape of a Stakeholder Forum. This will comprise public sector, private sector and community representatives and will debate the performance of the Framework and report formally with recommendations on how to strengthen delivery.
10. We will also work with financial providers and partner departments to explore the feasibility of the use of new alternative financial mechanisms, such as Tax Increment Financing, Social Impact Bonds and Local Incentive Backed Vehicles, in Northern Ireland.
11. In order to take the Framework forward, the next steps will be to:
- build upon our initial discussions with other government departments to create a more holistic approach to urban regeneration and community development;
- proceed to refine the Framework document and bring it to public consultation;
- develop outcomes and indicators for the objectives;
- consult key stakeholders in developing operational schemes in order to strengthen delivery of support to disadvantaged areas; and
- consider and draft legislative requirements for a Regeneration and Community Development bill.
12. The progress and path of our actions will be influenced by any decisions taken by the Assembly in relation to the Review of Public Administration.
Synopsis of Key Points – Framework Briefing
- The original impetus for the creation of a framework was two-fold – a desire to create an over-arching framework under which future polices and programmes would sit combined with the expected transfer in May 2011 of operational responsibility for urban regeneration and community development to eleven new local councils.
- The creation of the Framework was informed by a series of interviews, with key stakeholders in the public, private and third sector, and by two seminar events. An interdepartmental information session was also held to draw on the experience of other departments.
- The Framework is organised around four objectives which aim to provide the foundation for addressing the underlying structural problems of urban areas – and supported by two enabling objectives which will help create a more conducive policy and financial environment.
- Central to the Framework will be a focus on ‘Outcomes’ – with increased community engagement and evidence gathering in order to make it much easier to evaluate progress and strengthen delivery. This approach will evolve in parallel with the progress of RPA.
- The feasibility of various alternative financial mechanisms (such as Tax Increment Financing and Social Impact Bonds) will be explored in order to ensure that all possible resources are available to regenerate our communities.
- We hope to bring the Framework to public consultation in the Autumn.