This initial guidance sets out the board principles and processes underpinning the establishment of Neighbourhood Partnerships (NPS) in Northern Ireland and the role that is envisaged for them in the implementation of Neighbourhood Renewal. it is neither possible nor appropriate for the Department of Social Development (DSD to specify in detail what mechanisms should be put in place locally - the structure of the NPS may differ from one Neighbourhood Renewal area to another and arrangements made at the local level should reflect local needs and structures. The overall aim will be to set a meaningful, focused, and inclusive process in motion without undue prescription or interference from the Department.
The document explains how the DSD will assist in the establishment of the NPs’. It sets out what is required from Neighbourhood Action Plans and Vision Statements and summarises how DSD envisages Neighbourhood Renewal resources being deployed over the next 3 years.
The Department’s overriding interest is in ensuring that local people can influence decision-making and have a real say in the future of their areas. The approach being adopted is a long-term one – Neighbourhood Renewal will roll out over a 7-10 year period.
In June 2003, DSD published ‘People and Place, A Strategy for Neighbourhood Renewal,’ designed to help close the gap between the quality of life for people in Northern Ireland’s most deprived neighbourhoods and the quality of life of the rest of society. In July 2004, following a lengthy consultation, the Minister for Social Development, John Spellar MP, announced the 32 primary Neighbourhood Renewal areas.
Community Renewal – to develop confident communities that are able and committed to improving the quality of life in the most deprived neighbourhoods.
Economic Renewal – to develop economic activity in the most deprived neighbourhoods and connect them to the wider urban economy.
Social Renewal – to improve social conditions for the people who live in the most deprived neighbourhoods through better coordinated public services and the creation of safer environments.
Physical Renewal – to help create attractive, safe, and sustainable environments in the most deprived neighbourhoods.
A key element of the Strategy is the identification of Neighbourhood Partnerships in each Neighbourhood Renewal Area, to drive local planning and implementation.
A Neighbourhood Partnership (NP) is intended as a single body that brings together at a local (neighbourhood) level the different parts of the public sector as well as the private, business, community, and voluntary sectors so that different initiatives and services support each other and work together.
NPs’ are established to achieve the following aims
Maintain a clear focus on the needs of deprived communities and give greater recognition to how public, private, and community sector organisations are meeting their needs.
Ensure that local regeneration takes place within the wider context of the Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy so that the core services and core budgets of public bodies are working closely to close the gap between deprived areas and other areas.
Allow decision-making on local regeneration to be taken at the neighbourhood level within a Northern Ireland framework.
Link-up up physical, social, community, and economic regeneration more effectively and set local priorities; and
Enhance the focus and concentration on deprived communities who most need assistance, targeting mainly a geographic area but also recognising communities of interest.