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Strategic Planning

How do we ensure effective strategic planning? 

The Royal Town Planning Institute has developed a policy paper focusing on strengthening strategic planning. In England the focus should be on the need for proper incentives to achieve strategic planning where the duty to cooperate has not been effective, and to build on the momentum to harness the potential of the city regions. RTPI-Strategtic Planning -Brochure -Front CoverIn Wales plans are being brought forward through the first Planning Bill, and a focus on integrated and inclusive plans which are robust yet flexible and reflect real communities of interest is needed. Scotland needs to emphasise building on the well established framework of strategic plans by embedding investment programmes for their areas, and it needs to better connect to Single Outcome Agreements. Northern Ireland must centre its action around the Review of Public Administration and how this works within the Regional Development Strategy. In Ireland the new Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies will need to influence and contribute to other government strategies and the plans of state development agencies.   

As a starting point it is suggested that strategic planning should follow the following general principles:


  • Have focus to be efficient in the use of resources and clarity of purpose  
  • Strategic, dealing only with issues that can only be planned and managed at national or  sub-national level 
  • Spatial in order to have clarity in the role and impact on individual local communities and linkage to the delivery of national priorities
  • Responsive, requiring a new form of plan which is efficient in preparation and has a more dynamic review mechanism capable of adapting to change
  • Deliverable, to be effective by being linked to expenditure programmes
  • Collaborative governance structures to ensure a proactive engagement by all stakeholders (i.e. based upon of a culture of helping to deliver other people's agenda) and not just cooperative based upon a reactive agenda (i.e. do the decisions interfere with my agenda)     
  • Locally fashioned to ensure that the 'governance arrangements are sensitive to local culture and communities of interests
  • Accountable to overcome the democratic deficit of locally determined strategic decisions.       


Download the full report here

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