Supporting communities to influence their areas through Neighbourhood Planning

We built the capacity of community organisations in six urban deprived areas to mobilise residents  to use Neighbourhood Planning – capturing the learning through a detailed evaluation

Renaisi is supporting communities to mobilise Neighbourhood Planning in deprived areas

Client: DCLG

2015-2016

The challenge

Neighbourhood Planning is one of the government’s flagship policies for devolving power and decision-making to local communities. Take-up has been good, but deprived, urban areas have been slow to take advantage of the opportunity. In this project, the Department for Communities and Local Government asked us to help them increase the number of deprived, urban communities that use Neighbourhood Planning to influence their local areas.

Our approach

We worked with local voluntary and community organisations in six urban areas of England – Basildon, Newcastle, Calderdale, the Wirral, London and Tipton – to increase their capacity to advocate for Neighbourhood Planning, and support and encourage people in their area to get involved. Working with Neighbourhood Planning expert Tony Burton as well as our network of experienced community-led regeneration specialists, we ran a three month training programme that gave local people and community organisations the tools and knowledge to get started with neighbourhood plans. The first phase of the programme culminated in community engagement activities including events, films and workshops. We captured the learning in an evaluation report and set of engaging case studies. We also contributed to a national a multi-channel national awareness campaign developed by M&C Saatchi for DCLG, developing and designing communication material using insight that emerged from the project.

Impact

  • 71% of respondents had increased their knowledge and understanding of neighbourhood planning
  • 68% had increased their understanding of what they need to do to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan
  • 76% were as likely or more likely to talk to and encourage others to create a Neighbourhood Plan
  • All six areas where we delivered the programme intended to continue the process of developing a Plan

In 2016, we were recommissioned by DCLG to deliver the second phase of the programme in which we are supporting a new cohort of communities, using learning from phase one.

“Renaisi staff have been helpful, supportive and professional, providing regular reports, feedback and suggestions for improving the delivery of the work, which was greatly appreciated. That the project was so successful in its outcomes, is a testament to Renaisi’s understanding of working with communities.”

Miriam Levin, Department for Communities and Local Government