Community planning

Community plans

East Northamptonshire Council Community Partnerships team has produced this Community Plan resource kit to help communities with the process of starting a new plan or refreshing an existing one.

The kit includes consultation methods, questionnaire templates and ideas, action plan template, planning document hierarchy, safety considerations, how to build a brand and creating interest in your event, project planning templates as useful ideas to get you started.

There is no standard format for a community plan; this kit aims to guide you through a process that has been proved to work.

Please note for the purposes of this resource kit, a fictitious parish called Appleton has been created to be used as an example.  Appleton does not bear any resemblance to any particular parish in East Northamptonshire.

We hope you find this resource kit useful. Please let us know if you intend to start a Community Plan so we can let other relevant departments know too.

What is a Community Plan?

• It's a document prepared by the community to identify what they want to improve or achieve in their area.

• The preparation of the Community Plan is best led by a group of community members which include businesses, young people, councillors and other key individuals.

• The content is led by the community and the whole process can be tailored according to the needs of the parish / town.

• It's very important to set expectations at the beginning of the process, outlining what a Community Plan can influence and the timescales. The process usually takes between 12 months and 3 years dependant on the actions which come out of the Community Plan.

• The parish or town council must support the preparation of the Community Plan as they will adopt it and help deliver actions.  Because parish and town councils have a duty under the Equality Act 2010 to have “due regard” to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation, advance equality of opportunity between different groups and to foster good relations between different groups of people, this should be considered when developing the Community Plan, even if it is not led by the parish or town council.

• When starting a Community Plan, you should notify East Northamptonshire Council and your local councillor(s), as they may help deliver actions.

• It's not compulsory to prepare a Community Plan, although these are extremely useful in shaping a vision for a community and bringing people together.

• It has no set content and can include social, environmental or economic issues – whatever the community identifies as important. 

• The action plan will identify actions for the community to do; actions that will need support from other groups and organisations; and those that are aimed to influence decisions or policies of other organisations.

• It should be seen as an on-going / "living" document, which can be regularly updated to reflect when actions have been completed.

• A full review of the Community Plan should be carried out on a regular basis, as the priorities of the community may change.

Why do it?

• To enable as many local people as possible to identify their needs and aspirations for the future of their area.

• To stimulate community spirit and pride.

• To help service providers to plan on the delivery of future services.

• To set out evidence which can support future funding bids.

• To raise issues that may feed into statutory development plans (i.e. the Local Plan and / or a Neighbourhood Plan) or policies of other organisations.

• To become a supporting key document in the overall planning process influencing the overlapping plans and strategies for your area.