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Development of the Community Development Framework

As part of the Health and Wellbeing 2026 – Delivering Together, various work streams were established. A Community Development work stream was set up in January 2017 by Public Health Agency (PHA) to examine how best community development can contribute to the Transformation of Health and Social Care. The work stream is tasked to set clear direction and expand community development approaches to reducing health inequalities in Northern Ireland. To support this the team held 12 consultations, across all local government in Northern Ireland. This initial consultation process involved over 400 people and this involvement process shaped the draft report which the Work Stream presented.

At what level did the PPI take place?

  • Commissioning/policy.

PPI helped the project to

  • Improve efficiency of a service;
  • Inform commissioning;
  • Increase ownership.


In October 2016, a 10 year plan to transform the health and social care in Northern Ireland was launched by the Department of Health, a document titled “Health and Wellbeing 2026: Delivering Together”. Delivering Together set out a long-term roadmap, together with initial priorities, to make an ambitious start towards this reform of the HSC.

The Community Development team worked together to examine how best community development approaches can contribute to the overall HSC transformation process. Having drafted statements to outline the purpose, principles and outcomes of community development and health, the team then engaged with Community Development and Health and Wellbeing practitioners in order to inform the development of a Community Development Strategic Framework for the future. A symposium was held on the 18th June 2017 and was attended by approx 80 key stakeholders this was hosted by the Public Health Agency and the purpose was to consult and test the community development thinking across the sector, including community development agencies, health and social care academics and researchers. Following the symposium, a series of local community engagement workshops were delivered during August – November 2017, in partnership with local government, and together with Health and Social Care Trusts, in order to share expertise, and explore critical success factors needed to nurture the growth of community development practice, as a means to tackling health inequalities and improve health and wellbeing.

Aim of involvement

The overall aim was to engage with a wide range of key stakeholders and Community Development and Health and Wellbeing practitioners and community participants including volunteers in order to inform the development of a Community Development Strategic Framework for the future.

Method(s) of Involvement

  • A Workshop was held to briefly reflect on the purpose and principles of community development and why it is important to have a clear definition;
  • Focus on the learning that could be distilled from a local case study and participants’ own experience. Participants were asked to reflect on their own knowledge of Community Development practice and the discussion was focused on;

If Community development is going to deliver the health outcomes as suggested

  • What are the enablers and critical success factors to make it happen;
  • How can we show that change is happening –proof via indicators.


Despite widespread advertisement there was still a criticism that many more would have liked to be involved but didn’t hear about the workshops until it was too late. The 12 engagement workshops were promoted through a range of networks including the PHA, local government, Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) and Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action (NICVA). A total of 391 participants attended from across the community and voluntary sectors, Government Departments, statutory agencies, Health and Social Care Trusts and local government.

Outcomes due to involvement

Using the feedback generated from the workshops, the implementation plan for the Community Development Framework was created in detail for 2018-2020. The priorities, based on the consultation and research with the sector, are to embed the outcomes framework, build capacity and establish governance arrangements and will be reflected in the subsequent tender going forward. Other outcomes due to this workshop are as follows:

  • The implementation board will now be co-chaired by a member of the Community & Voluntary sector;
  • An online portal will be developed as a source of support to service users;
  • A comprehensive training package to include community development tools will be developed;
  • A community development mentorship scheme will be developed.

Feedback/quotes from service users/carers involved

“I appreciated the discussion on the definition and being able to make the point that we need to use language relevant to the within the communities, as we will need to bring the community with us to bring about the change”


January 2017 – Ongoing

Further information

For further information, contact:
Diane McIntyre (Health Improvement Manager)
Public Health Agency
Email: diane.mcintyre@hscni.net
Tel: 028 9536 1676