Coleraine Probus Club recently had a rare insight into the enormous task the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council has in meeting its requirements of producing a ‘Community Plan’ thanks to guest speaker Gary Mullan.
Stretching from Greysteel to The Glens and taking in four distinct former Boroughs, the area has to prepare and then implement the requirements of the 2014 Local Government Act.
This has at its heart an ‘over-arching partnership framework’ for the area, which expects all public services to be co- ordinated to improve ‘outcomes’ for the people of our area.
All of which sounds very good, but the practicalities of getting the fourteen statutory partners - Education, Housing, two Health Trusts, Police, Fire, Tourism and more - to develop and share their services so they all link in together, is a mountain to climb.
Added to the mix, is a requirement that all parts of the planning must be based on evidence and analysis of needs.
And for that, local residents and community groups need to be brought into the equation and consulted.
Gary gave a very clear and detailed account of just how the process of drawing up the CCG Community Plan has progressed over the last year and a half.
This has involved some 232 public meetings and a further 406 discussions with specialist interest groups, to say nothing of the almost endless draft papers, re-writes and presentations to the senior officers and elected members.
The good news is that the final, all parties approved, version on the plan should be agreed and published before the end of March this year.
The agreed Community Plan will have a 10 to 15 year lifespan, and its ‘underpinning values and principles’ will reflect the things we all want to see; Sustainability; Connecting people and places; Inclusion; Community Involvement and Engagement; Equality and fairness; Openness and transparency.
However, the completion of the plan is not the end of the process, it is only the beginning.
What happens next is the vital part of the process, the implementation and delivery of all the good ideas the plan contains, as well as the constant monitoring and reviews of the progress made.
Members of the Coleraine Probus Club are certainly looking forward to seeing Gary back again, in another year or so, to tell us how he views the plan and its intentions at that stage!
In the photograph is Coleraine Probus President Jim Archer greeting Gary Mullan with club member Malcolm Hinds (left) and club Secretary Graham MacDonald (right).