IPH response to DSD Urban Regeneration and Community Development Policy Framework Consultation
The Urban Regeneration and Community Development Policy Framework for Northern Ireland sets out for DSD and its partners, clear priorities for urban regeneration and community development programmes, both before and after the operational responsibility for these is transferred to councils under the reform of local government. Four policy objectives have been developed, which will focus on the underlying structural problems in urban areas and also help strengthen community development throughout Northern Ireland. The policy objectives are as follows: Policy Objective 1 – To tackle area-based deprivation: Policy Objective 2 – To strengthen the competitiveness of our towns and cities: Policy Objective 3 – To improve linkages between areas of need and areas of opportunity: and Policy Objective 4 –To develop more cohesive and engaged communities. Key points from IPH response Urban regeneration and community development provide a basis for addressing the social determinants of health and reducing inequalities in health. This policy framework presents an opportunity for coherence and complementarity with ‘Fit and Well - Changing Lives’ as part of government’s overall approach to tackling health inequalities. It is now well established that a focus on early years’ interventions and family support services yields significant returns, so prioritising action in these areas is essential. Defined action plans on child poverty are essential if this policy framework is to make a real and lasting difference in deprived urban areas. Development of the environmental infrastructure to improve health in deprived areas should be supported by well-planned monitoring and evaluation. Linking the policy framework to economic development and local community plans will enhance effectiveness in the areas of education, job creation, commercial investment and access to services, which in turn are critical for the economic growth and stability of urban communities. Community profile data and health intelligence (as available through IPH Health Well) could usefully inform central and local government in terms of resource allocation and targeted service delivery.