Agenda item


            The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report/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 plans to commence Phase 2 engagement in September, beginning with a proposed Members workshop on 7th September.


2.0            Recommendations


2.1            The Committee is asked to:


a)          note the progress of the development of the refreshed Belfast Agenda and supporting four-year Delivery Action Plans as set out in this report;


b)          note the planned Phase 2 engagement, subject to endorsement by the Community Planning Partnership;


c)          agree to commence the Phase 2 engagement with a Member Workshop to be held on 7th September, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Assembly Buildings, City Centre; and


d)          note the timeline for progressing the revised Belfast Agenda to public consultation.


3.0       Main Report




3.1       In November 2021 and March 2022, Members received an update on the emerging findings and recommendations following the Phase 1 of Belfast Agenda: Continuing the Conversation engagement process which has help inform the refresh and focus of the 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.


3.2       At the SP and R Committee meeting in March, Members noted an early draft of the strategic intents and stretch goals that were being developed in collaboration with our community planning partners for each priority. Since the March meeting, a significant amount of collaborative effort has gone into further developing and refining these priorities.  These are now approaching a state of readiness for wider engagement on the strategic intent, stretch goals and actions for each priority.


Refreshed Belfast Agenda – Citywide Strategy Document


3.3       Since it was launched in 2017, the Belfast Agenda has been a city leadership document, coalescing partners beyond the core legislative requirements of community planning with a focus on addressing key city challenges. The approach adopted has enhanced the relationship between the public, voluntary and community private sector to drive forward real change addressing inequalities and improve quality of live within and across the city.


3.4       The refreshed Belfast Agenda will maintain the same level of ambition and collective leadership commitment to deliver the long-term vision and outcomes previously agreed.  It will be delivery and outcome focused and will be positioned as a City Strategy which will identify the major transformational programmes and investment opportunities for the city.


Community Planning Priority Actions


3.5       Work continues with community planning partners and wider stakeholders to unpack and understand the scope off the agreed priority areas for focus over the next four years, Underpinning and composite delivery action plans are being co-designed and agreed with partners. A core set of guiding principles have been applied in developing the action plans to test and identify the most appropriate interventions to delivery greatest impact. These include:


·        Adding clear value.  We can achieve significant gains by collaborating across our partnership and sectors in a way we cannot through our existing single agency or thematic ‘business as usual’.

·        Impact for Belfast’s people, place, economy.  The work we deliver together will be felt in practical ways by individuals, families, communities, residents and businesses in Belfast, delivering tangible outcomes.

·        With Belfast’s Communities.  The work we do will fully engage Belfast’s residents, communities and businesses, building on their strengths and ensuring their voice is central to planning and delivery. We will work ‘with and alongside’ our communities, not ‘To or For’ them.

·        Intelligence led priorities and action.  We will focus our collaboration on the things that data, evidence and community insights tell us matter most to Belfast and we will deliver together in ways that evidence tells us will make a real difference.

·        Resourcing.  Delivery will require joint resourcing and effort, (i.e. staff time, services or investment). Should be a leadership commitment to jointly resource the initiative. 


3.6       The draft emerging action plans remain live documents and will be subject to further discussions and refinement with Members and wider stakeholders as set out below.


Phase 2 Engagement


3.7       Phase 1 engagement, as previously reported, provided an opportunity for citizens and the wider voluntary and community sectors to shape the emerging strategic framework and priorities of the Belfast Agenda for the next four years. We now intend to move to phase 2 engagement with a greater focus, discussion and input around the strategic intent and scope of the priority areas, how success would be measured in terms of stretch goals and the high-level delivery action plans.


3.8       A cross-sectoral Belfast Agenda Review delivery subgroup had been reconvened to help develop the approach to phase 2 engagement. The group has proposed that a multi-layered approach should be adopted with a series of area, thematic, sectoral and communities of interest events scheduled.  The following events are proposed and will be publicised online, via the VCSE panel network and via posters in local community-based assets and facilities.





All Member Workshop

7th September 5pm – 7pm

Assembly Buildings

Community Planning Partnership

15th September


2 Royal Avenue

East Belfast

20th September 10am-1pm

Skainos Centre

Business workshop

21st September 10am-1pm

Belfast Chamber (TBC)

West Belfast

22nd September 10am-1pm

St. Comgall’s Centre

City Centre Workshop

26th September 5pm – 7pm

2 Royal Avenue

Communities of Interest

29th September 5pm-7pm

City Hall, Banqueting Hall

North Belfast

11th October 10am-1pm


South Belfast

13th October 10am-1pm

Crescent Arts Centre

Belfast Agenda Delivery Boards





3.9       In addition, two online and facilitated engagement sessions will be organised for those that are not able to make the above events or would feel more comfortable attending an online session.  Dates for these are currently being finalised. We will also continue to use a range of engagement tools, including Your Say Belfast platform, to extend the reach and enable people to input into the process.



3.10     An independent facilitator is being procured to help host the engagement events and to prepare an independent report with an analysis of the main issues raised during the sessions and how this is reflected in the refreshed Belfast Agenda and action plans.


            Phase 3 Engagement - Formal Consultation


3.11     Feedback from the phase 2 engagement will be reflected in the draft strategy document and action plans.  These will be brought through the Community Planning Partnership, established CPP Delivery Boards and the SP and R Committee for consideration and approval in advance of being published for a 12-week formal consultation period.  Members are asked to note that an easy read version will also be created to help make the document more accessible.


            Financial and Resource Implications


3.12     Any financial implications arising from this report will be covered from existing budgets.


            Equality or Good Relations Implications /

            Rural Needs Assessment


3.13     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 refreshed Belfast Agenda and action plans will also be subject to an equality screening exercise.”


            The Committee adopted the recommendations.


Supporting documents: