Queanbeyan-Palerang Community Voice

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The Community Strategic Plan

Posted by Pete on August 29, 2017
Filed under: Community

During one of the Meet the Candidates meetings last week, I was a little alarmed to find that only one person in the audience was willing to admint that they knew anything about council’s (or, really, that should be the community’s) Community Strategic Plan (CSP). This is not really the right place to dig into the NSW Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) framework, but I thought it might at least be worth providing an overview of where the CSP fits into that program.

The process followed in developing the Palerang CSP is outlined in a post on my councillor blog. As a part of the IP&R framework, it is designed to help standardise the planning processes followed by Councils throughout NSW, and to help Councils to better align their planning processes with the aspirations of their respective communities. The starting point for this exercise was an extensive process of community consultation, and the Community Strategic Plan encapsulates the input provided through that consultation exercise.

The IP & R process also requires Councils to develop standardised financial and asset management plans, and for all of these documents to underpin Council’s four-year Delivery Program and annual Operational Plans.

The four-year Delivery Program will effectively define the goals for the term of a given Council, and the annual Operational Plans will identify which of these goals are to be delivered in any given year. These goals must be aligned with the aspirations of the community, as articulated in the Community Strategic Plan, although they will also be subject to Council’s financial constraints. State government funding opportunities will, however, favour those programs that have been clearly articulated by Councils in this planning process.

There was a level of cynicism in the initial response to the Palerang Community Strategic Plan (CSP) on the basis that it appeared to be very general, and its goals did not appear to reflect the more specific details provided during the consultation phase of the development process. It is important to understand, however, that as a strategic plan the CSP is necessarily high level and general, identifying objectives and broad strategies that are to be implemented over the period covered by the Plan.

The Delivery Programs and Operational Plans are what put the meat on the bones of the CSP. These are the documents that identify specific goals and the timeframes for achieving these goals. The Delivery Programs will also tie into Council’s Long Term Financial Plan, its Asset Management Plan, and it’s Workforce Planning Strategy. These elements of the IP & R process will determine Council’s long term viability and ultimately its ability to deliver on the strategy outlined in the Community Strategic Plan.

One of the first tasks of the new Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council that will be elected on 9 September will be to draft a consolidated CSP for he new council. Keep an eye open for the draft when it comes out on exhibition. Take the time to look through it and verify that it does indeed embrace the aspirations of your community.

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