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Corporate plan 2020-2024

Published in April 2020


Welcome from the Chair of Strategic Policy and Resources Committee

Our corporate plan is a reflection of what people in Belfast have told us they want and the type of leadership they feel the city needs. It takes the priorities of the Belfast Agenda and sets out the ways in which the council will deliver these to grow a sustainable, inclusive economy and equitable society.

Belfast is a city with many strengths which we're seeking to build upon.

Our economy is going from strength to strength. In Belfast we have a young and talented workforce and we create employment for people across the region. Visitor numbers are increasing and with billions invested in regenerating the city in recent years the continuing transformation is there for all to see.

As elected representatives, we believe this corporate plan reflects our responsibilities as a council to:

  • serve and represent citizens and communities and deliver the best possible value for money services for local people, communities and businesses
  • provide strong and trusted leadership for the city to ensure growth happens and as many people as possible can take advantage of that growth
  • engage with and support local people, communities and businesses to improve life across the city and the areas where people live

To fulfill our responsibilities, our corporate plan not only ensures we deliver the day-to-day services which the people of Belfast rely upon; we stretch ourselves through a series of strategic priorities to ensure we positively affect the lives of everyone in Belfast.

I am excited by the ambitions contained in this corporate plan and I hope you are too.

Alderman Brian Kingston,
Chair, Strategic Policy and Resources Committee

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As Chief Executive of Belfast City Council, I am pleased to present our draft Corporate Plan for 2020-2024, a plan which will deliver for local people in a time of both significant opportunity and considerable challenges for our city. The 60 councillors who make up Belfast City Council have articulated their aspirations for the city and this plan sets out the priorities, programmes, investments and service improvements which will deliver their collective ambitions.

Our Corporate Plan needs to be read alongside the Belfast Agenda - the city’s joint vision and plan for 2035. The council is in a unique position of leading this vision and plan but it also puts an equal onus on other organisations across Belfast and NI to improve our economy, infrastructure, neighbourhoods, health and wellbeing and skills for the jobs of the future. The Belfast Agenda was developed after listening to local people in our ‘Belfast Conversations’ and it includes clear city targets, such as creating 46,000 new jobs. It not only builds on the great assets and opportunities the city has, but also recognises and sets out actions for addressing some of our inherent weaknesses, such as educational and health inequalities. Our Community Planning Partnership is in place to challenge all the organisations involved to meet these targets and make sure that a much wider number of people and communities feel the benefits of, and are able to participate, in a better economy and transformed city.

You will see that the Corporate Plan 2020-2024 translates that long term vision into specific priorities which the council will take forward. It also highlights a number of very significant ‘cross-cutting’ priorities that will be game changers for the city, such as the Belfast Region City Deal, the Inclusive Growth Strategy and the Climate Change and Sustainable Development Programme. The plan also aims to ensure that the council uses its money and staff resources wisely to provide first class, value for money services and facilities across Belfast. We will also ensure the organisation and our staff are developed and equipped to achieve the targets set.

I am pleased that this council has recently been able to progress the £850m Belfast Region City Deal and the three state of the art leisure facilities - Andersonstown, Brook and Lisnasharragh. A number of pitches, community facilities and open spaces have also received significant investment in recent years.

An accompanying annual delivery plan that oversees delivery of our priorities will be used to ensure we deliver. I look forward to bringing forward early actions in the city’s first 10-year cultural strategy to ensure that culture, arts, events and festivals are positioned as the lifeblood of the city and also to progressing the City Deal projects to make us one of the most innovative and digitally enabled cities across the islands as well as boosting tourism and use of public transport even further. We will also start the new leisure developments at Templemore and Avoniel, improve our customer services, develop a climate change action plan and publish our spatial plan for the city. These are just a few of the exciting and innovative priorities detailed in this ambitious plan.

Suzanne Wylie
CEO, Belfast City Council

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Our vision 

Through the Belfast Agenda, the council, residents and stakeholders have set out a clear vision for the city:

Belfast will be a city reimagined and resurgent. A great place to live and work for everyone.
Beautiful, well-connected and culturally vibrant, it will be a sustainable city, shared and loved by all its citizens, free from the legacy of conflict. A compassionate city offering opportunities for everyone. A confident and successful city energising a dynamic and prosperous city region. A magnet for talent and business and admired around the world. A city people dream to visit.

Strategic context

As a city we will realise the vision of the Belfast Agenda through the achievement of five key outcomes by 2035. Belfast will be a city:

  • where everyone fulfils their potential
  • where everyone benefits from a thriving, prosperous economy
  • where everyone experiences good health and wellbeing
  • that is welcoming, safe, fair and inclusive for all
  • that is vibrant, attractive, connected and environmentally-sustainable

We are the only democratically elected body to represent the city. To deliver these outcomes we will use our political leadership to address city wide issues and lead Belfast towards this vision.

We will do this by working with our partners to reshape the city in to one that addresses these challenges and achieves all aspects of this vision - through regenerating and managing the city and supporting its people.

At the very heart of our city are the people that live here. Our corporate plan aims to improve the lives of these people, promote a shared society that celebrates diversity and create a resilient and inclusive economy. We will focus on improving facilities and services that enhance our neighbourhoods and improve the lives of our residents. This will make Belfast a city of choice to live, work, learn and do business. To achieve this we need to be good at:

  • delivering outstanding services in a way which targets these long-term ambitions
  • investing in projects that will enhance quality of life and stimulate inclusive economic growth
  • providing effective civic leadership, including making the case for improvements in government investment and services whilst working hand in hand with other agencies, the community and the private sector

To do this, the council needs to have the right capabilities, which include:

  • Making sure we understand the needs of citizens, areas, neighbourhoods, businesses, investors, tourists and our partners. We need to manage our reputation, find innovative ways to deliver our services, ensure decision makers have access to the right information and expertise to allow them to make informed decisions and inspire and motivate others to work in partnership with us
  • Ensuring we have staff with the right skills, who understand their contribution to this corporate plan, are highly motivated and uphold our goals and values
  • Being clear about our priorities and aligning our resources. We cannot do everything at once and therefore we need to prioritise our resources and capabilities. For this reason we are focusing our priorities on what improves the lives of those living here, including inclusive economic growth; regenerating neighbourhoods; building the capacity of our communities; improving the opportunities for those looking to work and learn; and ensuring our city continues to develop in a sustainable, resilient manner

It is important that we balance our ambitions for economic growth with the need to address long term inequity in the city – this is what inclusive growth means. We must connect all residents with economic growth to create vibrant communities where everyone has the opportunity and aspiration to succeed. This will take specific interventions, including skills programmes and changes to our approach to procurement.

While there are many opportunities and challenges facing Belfast such as the impact of Brexit, this corporate plan gives us the ability to prepare for and mitigate any impacts on the city to ensure our continued success.

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Strategic context facts and figures


  • young population, 20 per cent of people are aged under 15
  • world’s top destination for financial services technology investments
  • 10,132 hotel bed spaces in Belfast, a 27 per cent increase in number of bed spaces from the previous year
  • £470m GVA per year increase through £1 billion Belfast Region City Deal investment
  • nine out of 10 properties in Belfast have access to superfast broadband over 300Mbit/s
  • Belfast accounts for 18 per cent of the population and 30 per cent of all jobs in NI
  • 885,023 square foot of city centre office space, a record level of office accommodation
  • cyber security, 1,200 new cyber jobs in the last five years, projected to grow to 5,000 by 2022


  • average life expectancy in Belfast is lower than the NI average for both males (76.0 years) and females (81.1 years)
  • in Belfast, the average life expectancy for a man in the most deprived area is 9.4 years less than in the least deprived areas. For a woman the gap is 6.4 years less
  • more than 56,000 residents in Belfast live in poverty, 28 per cent of children in Belfast grow up in poverty
  • average earning of all Belfast residents differs greatly between the highest 10 per cent of earners (£846.50 per week) and lowest (£142.80 per week)
  • 58 per cent of the working population travel to work by car or van
  • 44 per cent of household waste is recycled and composted
  • 7,322 people are in housing stress
  • 42 per cent of school leavers (entitled to Free School Meals) achieve five GCSEs grade A star to grade C (including English and Maths) compared to 74 per cent of those who are not
  • 9,800 properties are potentially at significant risk of flooding from rivers

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Our priorities for 2020-2024

Growing an inclusive economy

  • Develop a city growth plan through the Innovation and Inclusive Growth Commission
  • Drive inclusive and sustainable economic growth through £350 million investment in digital innovation projects
  • Increase tourism spend by developing new sustainable products
  • Encourage business startups
  • Support indigenous business growth
  • Provide the environment to support inward investment
  • Promote and market the city internationally for investment
  • Maximise the economic benefit of the Belfast to Dublin economic corridor

Resilience and sustainability

  • Resilience Strategy to reduce strategic risks for the city
  • Organisational and city-wide focus on climate adaption and mitigation
  • The circular economy and urban waste
  • Improve urban air quality
  • Develop an energy transition plan

Living here

  • Develop neighbourhood regeneration plans
  • Continue to build our community capacity
  • Develop integrated services at a local level to deal with community-level issues such as health inequalities
  • Build and open seven new leisure centres
  • Work with partners to maximise housing development opportunities

City development

  • Continue to implement the City Centre Regeneration and Investment Strategy
  • Continue to support solutions for the required infrastructure
  • Facilitate and enable citywide and neighbourhood regeneration - for example the north Belfast regeneration plans
  • Continue to develop sustainable tourism product such as the Destination Hub
  • Make the city more easily connected

Working and learning

  • Help to address educational underachievement
  • Support residents to access employment through initiatives such as Belfast Workplace
  • Provide upskilling opportunities


  • Deliver the Belfast City Region Deal
  • Publish the Belfast Spatial Planning Framework
  • Implement the Cultural Strategy
  • Build better partnership-working
  • Continue to develop a physical programme
  • Implement the Inclusive Growth Strategy
  • Promote a shared future and implement the Good Relations Strategy
  • Deliver excellent, value for money services

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Our cross-cutting priorities will have a multitude of social, economic and environmental benefits for the city. These priorities include once in a lifetime opportunities to fundamentally change the city, culturally, physically and economically and help achieve the big ambitions of the Belfast Agenda.

Deliver the Belfast Region City Deal

The Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) is an unprecedented partnership that will deliver an integrated programme of transformational investment. It will support delivery of up to 20,000 new and better jobs, fund 22 integrated projects underpinned by a programme of investment in employability and skills and increase GVA by £470 million per annum.

Publish the Belfast Spatial Planning Framework

We are responsible for publishing a Local Development Plan for Belfast, working with local people, to create a clear vision of how the council area should develop to suit the needs of the people and provide a vision for what it will look like in the years to come.

Develop and implement the city’s Cultural Strategy

It is widely recognised that cities of culture can drive transformation. The purpose of the Cultural Strategy is to present a series of priorities that have the potential to contribute significantly to people’s outcomes.

Build better partnership working to deliver Belfast Agenda outcomes

The council has an important role, working alongside city partners, to provide the leadership and strategic direction of Belfast by shaping, developing and managing the city.

We have set ourselves a challenging agenda for the coming years but we are confident that by working successfully with our city partners and communities, as well as utilising our partnerships across the sector, such as Core Cities and 100 Resilient Cities, we will deliver our commitments.

Continue to deliver a physical programme that brings about better social, economic and environmental conditions for Belfast

Communities and people are the lifeblood of our city and we must create assets that make a real difference to people’s lives and are transformational at a city- wide and local level. Our Physical Programme is one of the most visible and easily recognisable signs of the council’s civic leadership role in the city. It has an impact right across Belfast with every area of the city benefitting from the programme. The current delivery programme includes over 200 projects worth over £325 million in capital investment.

Implement the Inclusive Growth Strategy to ensure everyone benefits from city growth

We have seen our city transform in recent years. We are creating new opportunities for many of our residents. But this is a tale of two cities; not everyone is part of this new story. We still have unacceptable levels of persistent deprivation and inequality.

We will drive inclusive growth through the Belfast Agenda, setting out how we will use our employment and procurement policies as well as our investment powers to ensure Belfast is a truly inclusive city.

Promote a shared future and implement the Good Relations Strategy 

Following years of conflict, the people of Belfast have made great progress towards normalisation. Despite this, there remain key legacy issues that manifest themselves in segregation between communities. The Good Relations Strategy will promote a shared future, increase cultural diversity and respect for everyone’s identity, not just the legacy issues following conflict but to address issues relating to hate crime and intolerance to show that Belfast is a city for all.

Deliver excellent, value for money services

At the core of everything we do are the services that we deliver. We will continue to seek new and innovative ways to ensure our services are delivered to the high standards expected by our customers whilst always ensuring value for money.

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Growing an inclusive economy

BCC will work to create an inclusive, resilient economy through creating good, sustainable jobs.

A thriving urban economy is a key foundation to achieving many of the outcomes in the Belfast Agenda. Not only can a successful economy generate the wealth required to grow local businesses, generate jobs and offer routes out of poverty for struggling families, it is also the main source of revenue for the city’s public services, programmes and interventions.

Develop a city growth plan through the Innovation and Inclusive Growth Commission

Our corporate plan contains several ‘once in a generation’ opportunities that could deliver transformational impacts for the city of Belfast. This commission will ensure that major programmes are integrated and joined up, that long-term resilience is built-in so we are better able to withstand shocks and stresses, as well as making Belfast increasingly attractive to long-term investment.

Drive inclusive economic growth through £350 million investment in digital innovation projects and progress delivery of a Digital Innovation Strategy

The digital and innovation strands of the BRCD will act as a catalyst that will drive forward investment in research and development and help embed a culture of innovation to act as a driver for increased productivity.

Increase tourism spend by developing sustainable products

One of the key ways we can contribute to the growth of the local economy is by maximising the tourism appeal of both the city centre and our neighbourhoods. If we are to achieve our target of securing £500m in out-of-state tourism by 2021, we need to continue to build on the unique attractions of Belfast by promoting the city’s particular character.

Encourage business start-ups and support indigenous business growth

We have worked with our city partners on an Enterprise Framework to agree who provides what support and to whom. The delivery of the Enterprise Framework for Belfast will result in a more comprehensive and coherent system of enterprise support covering all stages of the business growth lifecycle.

Provide the environment to support inward investment including the positioning and marketing of the city internationally

Attracting inward investment to Belfast is a crucial area of our work. This in turn creates jobs and opportunities for local SMEs – inward investment provides opportunities for indigenous businesses through global value chains to integrate with the global economy.

We continue to work with partners, developers and funders to deliver a shared Belfast city promotional brand to ensure that Belfast is visible and accessible to an international audience.

Maximise the economic benefit of the Belfast to Dublin Economic Corridor

The Belfast to Dublin Economic Corridor is a term used to describe the geographical area between both cities recognising the potential benefits that are created from the concentrations of related businesses, industries, educational institutions, technology and transport infrastructure. By working with local authority colleagues and government partners, we will agree a future economic vision for the corridor.

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Resilience and sustainability

BCC will work to protect our city and its environment for future generations by adapting to and mitigating against climate change.

The Belfast Agenda provides the city with an ambitious vision for our future. However, even the best-laid plans can be knocked off course by unexpected shocks, or long-term stresses. Being a resilient city means reducing our exposure to vulnerabilities, being better at adapting to challenges such as the fire at Bank Buildings in August 2018, shaping a new relationship with the European Union or preparing for a changing climate.

Changes to the environment are amongst the biggest threats we face. The International Panel on Climate Change special report on global warming of 1.5℃ which called on ambitious action from all levels of government. In response to this increasing threat, Belfast City Council has declared a Climate Emergency. We must become a sustainable city that meets the needs of the present without sacrificing the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. From the way we heat our houses, how we use water or how we choose to travel have significant long term impacts on our local environment and quality of life. To become a climate resilient and sustainable city we will drive action to improve air quality, use energy more efficiently and deal with our waste sustainably.

Resilience Strategy to reduce strategic risks for the city 

Urban resilience is the capacity of cities to survive, adapt, and develop no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience. Through membership of 100 Resilient Cities, we have taken a targeted approach to issues which pose the greatest risk to the city, its economy and its people. Our Resilience Strategy has identified a series of shocks (for example: infrastructure capacity; condition of current housing stock; climate change; and Brexit) and stresses (for example: capacity for economic recovery; population change; dependency on fossil fuels; housing supply; segregation and division). To address these, we have identified three ‘multiple problem solvers’ aimed at resolving these strategic risks to the city:

  1. Climate resilience
  2. Children and young people
  3. Connectivity

Organisational climate adaption and mitigation plan

By 2021, we will have developed a climate plan for the council that deals with both climate adaption (preparing for the effects of climate changes, for example: building flood defences for our assets) and mitigation (preventing or alleviating the impacts of climate change, for example: the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by reducing an organisation’s carbon footprint).

This plan will establish a set of science-based targets for decarbonisation, set out how we will protect our assets from the impact of climate change, agree a range of measures which we can take to ensure an inclusive and just transition to a low carbon organisation and identify a financial model to pay for the necessary changes.

City wide climate adaption and mitigation plan

Whilst developing the climate adaption and mitigation plan for the council, we will work with our city partners in developing a city-wide climate plan to ensure that adaption and mitigation plans are in place for the entire city.

We will drive this approach through our Belfast Agenda partnerships, ensuring not only the council, but the city itself is responding to the impacts of climate change and move Belfast to a low-carbon economy within a generation.

The circular economy and urban waste

Successful cities manage the impact of growth and ensure that it does not limit the quality of life of future generations. This includes reducing our consumption of non- renewable resources and managing waste and materials effectively, while minimising impacts. We will develop a strategy which will ensure waste is managed effectively and investigate the economic potential of the circular economy to increase skills, jobs and growth.

Improve urban air quality

With city partners, and as part of our broader work on resilience and sustainability, we will identify and agree key strategic actions to improve air quality across the city, with a particular focus on public health outcomes.

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City development

BCC will work to ensure the city is sustainable with robust infrastructure that protects future generations.  Residents and stakeholders have told us they want a Belfast where the city centre thrives with a vibrant mix of retail, leisure, tourist and residential opportunities. They want a city where the development and growth of the city is aligned to the social, economic and environmental wellbeing of its citizens and infrastructure that meets the needs of today and the future.

Continue to implement the City Regeneration and Investment Strategy

We are committed to encouraging and creating a vibrant and well connected city centre that combines a range of uses including city centre living, retail, employment and office uses, tourist, cultural and family centric facilities for people to enjoy. The City Centre Regeneration and Investment Strategy already stands as an example of our shared ambition – jointly adopted by the council and the Department for Communities.

Continue to support solutions for the required city infrastructure

Infrastructure planning for the Belfast City Region needs to be taken forward in a strategic and integrated way, not on a project by project basis. We will work with public and private sector partners to identify key infrastructure investment requirements. We will continue to engage with and lobby central government to prioritise and shape the major infrastructure investment required to ensure the city is prepared for future sustainable growth and development.

Facilitate and enable city-wide development and regeneration

We are committed to ensuring that the regeneration potential of the wider city is maximised in a way that benefits all citizens and results in improved outcomes for communities. We will continue to work with partners to facilitate, enable and influence key city developments and ensure an integrated neighbourhood regeneration approach that delivers on inclusive growth.

Continue to develop the Destination Hub

The research for the City Centre Regeneration and Investment Strategy suggested the need for another major city centre tourism destination hub. The current redevelopment in the area around the new Ulster University campus, including Belfast Streets Ahead and Belfast Central Library provides an ideal opportunity. The Destination Hub will become a space to showcase Belfast’s culture, creative and artistic offerings, engaging local communities and visitors, developing skills in the sector and promoting further economic growth and redevelopment.

Make the city more easily connected

Connectivity is vital for a city to be successful. Whilst Belfast is the transport and logistical hub for the entire region, it must also meet the needs of our communities, ensuring they have access to jobs and to each other. Improving connectivity within the city centre as well as between the city centre and neighbourhoods is critical to our future success. The connection with other core cities is critical for the development of a sustainable and successful city. It is also a key enabler if Belfast is to exploit its growing reputation as a tourist and business destination. We will continue to build our partnerships with key city anchors, such as Belfast Harbour, and seek to maximise the role of the city as the gateway to the region. We will continue to progress a comprehensive solution to city car parking and support a shift to sustainable modes of transport such as walking, public transport and cycling.

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Working and learning

BCC will work to ensure people are appropriately skilled for the jobs created in the city.

Education is the foundation for a better life, not only in facilitating future employment and providing access to a fulfilling adult life, but also as a major contributor to a person’s wellbeing and to shaping lifelong health. Working with our partners, we will bring forward a work programme which supports the inclusive growth ambitions of the council with a focus on addressing barriers to progression.

Help to address educational underachievement

To ensure all children are given the inspiration and opportunity to succeed at an early stage before they become disillusioned with the education and employment system, early intervention work is essential. Therefore we are taking steps to work with schools and younger people to identify ways that they can be supported through GCSE attainment, career advice and practical experience via work related training academies.

The lead agency for young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEETs) is the Department for the Economy (DfE). We will work with DfE to develop an action plan and trialling two new approaches to support young people at risk of becoming NEET. The two pilot approaches are:

  • a place-based approach which will be delivered in the Short Strand/Newtownards Road area
  • a sectorally focused approach aimed at creating aspiration for young people to want to work in key sectors

Support residents to access employment through initiatives such as Belfast Workplace and provide upskilling opportunities

We will work with partners to establish ‘pathways’ to ensure that individuals can progress and avail of the support which they need to access employment. This will involve supporting people in the city’s more deprived neighbourhoods, providing targeted support for the long-term unemployed and economically inactive, and working directly with employers to run ‘Employment Academies’ to help train people for the opportunities that exist. We will include social clauses on our procurement contracts so that they provide work opportunities and will target areas of greatest employment demand and potential growth.

Working in partnership

We will work with our partners on a series of test and learn pilots to explore new approaches to providing employability and skills support. The three pilots are:

  • Enterprise Pathway: a new approach to helping economically inactive individuals to start a business
  • Employer Engagement: encouraging 15,000 businesses in Belfast to engage with mainstream employability and skills support
  • Advice provision: trialling a new relationship aimed at providing benefits and work-focused advice in a community setting

In our convening role as the community planning authority, we will engage with our partners, including the Departments for Communities; Economy; and Education; employers; and training providers. We will develop joint areas of work with the city’s universities and further education college to facilitate better alignment between regional employment interventions and the needs of the Belfast labour market and skills pipeline. In this way we can make the support more effective and, perhaps more importantly, make it easier for individuals to understand what help is available and how they can access it.

The Belfast Region City Deal has the potential to deliver up to 20,000 new and better jobs. It has an ambitious programme of activity covering a range of projects spanning infrastructure; regeneration; tourism; innovation; and digital. Work is underway to identify the employment and skills implications and requirements of these projects, at both construction and operational phases.

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Living here

Our city and neighbourhoods are vibrant, resilient and safe places where people choose to live, work and spend time being more healthy and active.  In our recent residents' survey, 86 per cent of respondents were satisfied with Belfast as a place to live. We want everyone to be satisfied. We want to deliver a high quality of life for everyone. In doing so, we must deliver and plan effective public spaces and conserve our natural environment so it can be accessed and enjoyed.

Develop neighbourhood regeneration plans

Like most cities, Belfast functions on various geographic levels including citywide, at an area level (north, south, east and west) and at local neighbourhoods. The socio-economic conditions, needs, challenges, and aspirations, particularly across our neighbourhoods differ, as will the interventions and actions necessary to address them and achieve the improved outcomes we want to see.

The city continues to deal with the challenge of ensuring that neighbourhoods feel connected to and benefit from the continued regeneration of the city centre. We also want to encourage movement and collaboration from neighbourhood to neighbourhood across the breadth of the city. We will focus on identifying and addressing the socio-economic needs of neighbourhoods. We will tailor investments and interventions within particular neighbourhoods, focused on the key arterial routes that flow through our communities and build on opportunities to maximise synergies.

Continue to build our community capacity

Strong and vibrant communities are an essential part of the fabric of Belfast. We will provide physical investment, revenue support and funding to enhance community capacity. Over the life of this corporate plan we will seek to work in partnership with our communities and partners to ensure that the support we offer meets local needs and delivers sustainable impact. We will also look at ways of increasing support to help build community capacity.

Develop integrated services at a local level

We will develop a local area approach to the delivery of services to ensure better coordination and integration of resources to solve local problems such as particular health inequalities or anti-social behaviour. This will bring services closer to people so we can better understand the different needs and aspirations of communities across Belfast and where local people can help shape the services they receive to meet their needs.

Build and open seven new leisure centres

The £105m Leisure Transformation Programme is the largest programme of its kind across the UK. We will develop seven new leisure centres with Olympia, Brook and Lisnasharragh already open and Andersonstown due to open in 2020. Work has commenced on the redevelopment of Avoniel and the complete refurbishment and extension of Templemore Baths which has received support from Heritage Lottery Fund. We will also continue plans for the development of an additional leisure facility at Girdwood.

Work with partners to maximise housing development opportunities

The Belfast Agenda sets out an ambitious target to increase the city’s population by 66,000 people. It also has ambitions to increase the supply of social and affordable housing. The draft Local Development Plan suggests 31,600 additional homes will be needed by 2035 to satisfy these requirements.

While the council does not have direct responsibility for building new homes, it does have a range of powers relating to housing and housing development. These cover the Local Development Plan, HMO licensing, building control, planning, non-statutory regeneration activities, economic development, promoting the city to investors and providing land that it owns for household development.

More importantly, the council, in its role as city leader, will seek to address the effects of over 7,000 people in Belfast currently in housing stress by maximising housing opportunities in the city by convening and co-commissioning activities and interventions with our key stakeholders and those agencies who do have a statutory responsibility for housing development. The council is also able to provide support via activities such as identifying potential land for housing development in our communities, promoting city centre opportunities and encouraging good practice.

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Our organisational priorities

Our mission is based on the pillars of the Belfast Agenda. We want to create a resurgent, prosperous city, shared by all of our people and admired around the world.

Our values are:

  • creativity
  • responsibility
  • integrity
  • problem-solving

These guide our actions and should be lived by us all.

Our critical success factors are what all our staff should meet:

  • excellent service
  • city leadership

There are seven organisational capabilities we need to deliver the Belfast Agenda. These are listed in the table.

Organisational capability Priorities
People and communities Ensure the organisation supports community development through community capacity-building and increased community engagement
Finance and assets medium term Financial Strategy
effective asset management
efficiency programme
Customer Customer Focus Programme
Our people and organisation People Strategy
Continuous Improvement Programme
Data Strategy
Delivering with partners Build capacity for working in partnership to deliver the Belfast Region Region Deal and Community Planning Partnership
Effective political engagement Continue to build elected members' capacity as leaders for the city
Revised governance arrangements
Equality, diversity and inclusion

As our city becomes more ambitious so must we. To do this, we can only succeed with the wholehearted support and enthusiastic contribution of our staff. To harness this energy they need to feel valued and understand how they contribute.

As an organisation, if we want to perform these capabilities to the best of our abilities we must continuously look to improve how we do things. We have agreed twelve priorities that will help us improve our capability. For example, to provide the best customer experience possible we have developed a customer focus programme that will enhance the experience felt by all our customers. Likewise, to get the best out of our most important resource, our staff, we will develop and deliver a People Strategy.

Customer Focus Programme

One of the key ambitions of the Belfast Agenda is, ‘to deliver services differently in a more integrated way that is focused on the needs of people.’ Our customer focus programme will significantly improve the quality of the services we provide while delivering services cost effectively.

People Strategy

As we move forward as a council, we need to ensure that our staff are at the heart of this journey of change and improvement. Our People Strategy will put in place the framework to ensure we have the skilled workforce we need to deliver our corporate priorities.

Ensure the organisation supports community development through community capacity building and increased community engagement

We are committed to working in partnership with the voluntary, community and social enterprise sectors. To do so, we will strengthen the models of engagement at both a city and council level.

Data Strategy

The council has a clear need to extract more value from the data it holds and to improve its ability to make evidence-based decisions.

For the council to reach its desired state of city knowledge it must take a strategic approach to data that enables the sharing of data across the organisation. It is therefore important that the council develops a Data Strategy that enables this vision.

Continuous Improvement Programme

While this corporate plan contains a series of strategic improvements we will always look at how we can improve internally.

The continuous improvement programme will deliver a programme of priority improvement projects that resolve organisational challenges, rationalise cost, build capacity, agility and capability and enable delivery of our objectives.

Effective asset management

Our property assets are an important part of supporting and enabling us to transform the way we deliver our services and our regeneration priorities. We are developing an asset management strategy which will set the framework for managing our property portfolio effectively.

Medium-term financial strategy

A revised medium-term financial strategy is required to secure the financial position of the organisation to ensure priorities are properly resourced and value for money is provided to the ratepayer.

Efficiency programme

A key strand of the medium-term financial strategy is the delivery of cash efficiencies to support Members’ ambitions on the level of district rate to be set and to support the financing of new priorities.

Continue to build elected members' capacity as leaders for the city

Our elected members, in their civic and community leadership roles, actively serve the communities they represent and the city of Belfast as a whole.

Our ability to deliver value for money services and add real value to the leadership of the city depends on our commitment to provide continuous learning and development opportunities for elected members. This will ensure that they have the necessary knowledge and skills to enable them to carry out their various roles effectively.

Revised governance arrangements

We will review our governance arrangements for the newly elected Council to ensure effective and efficient political decision-making.

Build capacity for working in partnership to deliver the Belfast Region City Deal and Community Planning Partnership

As we seek to improve conditions for our citizens, we must act in partnership with others. Successful delivery of outcomes will only be achieved by working collaboratively with all sectors including: the wider public sector, businesses, the community and voluntary sector, education and training providers and wider civic society.

To ensure that our organisation and staff are able to lead and achieve success, we will work with our staff to embed a culture of partnership working.

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Belfast is a modern city with an array of multi-cultural identities that’s welcoming to all. As the democratically elected body of the city, we recognise this rich tapestry of identity. We will develop a new five-year equality scheme for the council, implement a city-wide approach to linguistic diversity and develop a new four-year disability strategy.

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Excellent, efficient services

The council will continue to deliver a range of statutory and other core services to the people of Belfast. This includes essential services like: emptying the bins, cleaning the streets, registering births, deaths and marriages to a wide range of regulatory and enforcement activity such as planning applications and building control inspections and enforcement relating to public and environmental health including food safety, port health and health and safety. The council also maintains and runs local amenities such as parks, playgrounds and community centres and city and regional amenities including City Hall, Belfast Zoo, Belfast Waterfront and Belfast Castle.

We attracted:

  • 200,000 visitors to Belfast Waterfront and City Hall
  • over one million visitors to St George's Market and over one million visitors to the Christmas Market and other markets
  • 200,000 visitors to Belfast Castle and Malone House
  • over 220,000 visitors to Belfast Zoo

We entertained:

  • over 300,000 people at our large scale events adding £12 million to the local economy
  • over 134,000 people through our parks and events programmes
  • 1,500 children at 32 inclusive summer schemes

Delivering community safety services such as on street alcohol enforcement and Policing and Community Safety Partnership projects

  • Attracting over 224,800 visitors each month to our website
  • Dealing with fuel poverty through schemes such as Be Warm which sold £11,415 in oil stamps
  • Delivering 1,304 free home safety checks
  • Supporting 2,750 people through employability initiatives with over 800 people expected to move into employment
  • Dealing with 133 dangerous buildings and improving the look of 13 dilapidated buildings
  • Supporting over 33,000 to promote good relations
  • Responding to 4,740 night time noise services requests
  • Supporting 3,500 young people through youth initiatives relating to employability and skills
  • 1,590 individuals have engaged in our enterprise initiatives and we've helped 547 new businesses or social enterprises to start which has supported the creation of 336 new jobs in the city

Continuing to promote Belfast as a tourism destination (in 2017 tourism generated £338 million in the economy on one and a half million overnight visitor trips, supporting 18,600 jobs)

Giving advice to over 1,200 consumers resulting in £190,000 going back into consumers' pockets
Issuing 360 entertainment licences

We provided financial assistance of:

  • over £3 million in 273 community grants
  • £367,000 for sports clubs, coaches, talented individuals and sports events

This year we have:

  • organised 152 community cleanups
  • recycled over 65,00 tonnes of waste
  • issued nearly 2,500 fixed penalty notices for littering and dog fouling offences
  • recycled over 44 per cent of our household waste
  • head nearly 842,800 people visit our recycling centres
  • emptied almost nine million wheelie bins and carried out over 38,500 bulky waste collections
  • cleaned over 4,787 streets per week (445,000 km per year)

Carrying out inspections for health and safety, housing, food safety and entertainment:

  • 3,881 housing inspections
  • 583 health and safety inspections
  • 187 entertainment inspections
  • 2,580 food safety inspections

We delivered a physical investment programme including a total investment of £66.4 million:

  • 30 major projects completed
  • work started on 16 major projects worth £80 million

Engaging with 7,500 participants through career events and job fairs.

Just over £1.5 million to culture and arts
£465,000 to support good relations

Key projects completed include Olympia Leisure Centre, the Tropical Ravine and the visitor exhibition at City Hall.

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Key expenditure 2019-2020

Our corporate plan is based on a planned investment of £202.85 million for 2019-2020. This includes:

  • a projection of £157.80 million from the district rate
  • £21.11 million from fees and charges
  • £11.29 million from grant funding
  • £12.66 million from other sources

Where we get our money from

We get our money from these key areas listed in the table:

Planned income Amount
district rate (paid by householders and businesses) £157.80 million
fees and charges (money received for services like waste disposal and building control) £21.11 million
grants (for example from Europe and central government) £11.29 million
other (for example rents and licences) £12.66 million
total £202.85 million

Where we plan to spend our money during 2019-2020:

Activity Amount
Planning Committee £7.73 million
Strategic Policy and Resources Committee £56 million
People and Communities Committee £92.90 million
City Growth and Regeneration Committee £24.69 million
total £202.85 million

Values and principles

Our corporate plan is underpinned by a set of core values which will guide the work of the council and inform our standards of conduct and behaviour.


We are creative, always seeking new ways of working. Imagining and delivering a bright future for the city. We encourage innovation and new ideas in all that we do; giving positive recognition to those who contribute to our creativity.


We accept responsibility for our actions, individually and collectively. We act responsibly, respecting each other and taking care of Belfast's cultures and environment.


We are open and honest. We adhere to the highest possible ethical standards. We want the people of Belfast to trust us to do the right thing. We trust and support one another.


We overcome problems through hard work, ingenuity, determination and real resilience. We overcome barriers and resistance and use our creativity to think about challenges in a different way.

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Our elected members

Belfast City Council has 60 democratically-elected representing ten district electoral areas. Our councillors play a key role in representing the interests of their constituents and ensuring that the views of their electoral areas and the entire population of Belfast are reflected in the decisions the council takes.

The district electoral areas are:


Balmoral electoral area has five wards: Belvoir, Finaghy, Malone, Musgrave and Upper Malone. Elected members for Balmoral are listed in this table.

Name Party
Sarah Bunting DUP
David Graham DUP
Dónal Lyons SDLP
Geraldine McAteer Sinn Féin
Kate Nicholl Alliance

Black Mountain

Black Mountain electoral area has seven wards: Andersonstown, Ballymurphy, Beechmount, Colin Glen, Falls Park, Shaw's Bridge and Turf Lodge. Elected members for Black Mountain are listed in this table.

Name Party
Ciaran Beattie Sinn Féin
Arder Carson Sinn Féin
Matt Collins People Before Profit Alliance
Steven Corr Sinn Féin
Michael Donnelly Sinn Féin
Emma Groves Sinn Féin
Ronan McLaughlin Sinn Féin


Botanic electoral area has five wards: Blackstaff, Central, Ormeau, Stranmillis and Windsor. Elected members for Botanic are listed in this table.

Name Party
Áine Groogan Green Party Northern Ireland
John Gormley Sinn Féin
Tracy Kelly DUP
Emmet McDonough-Brown Alliance
Gary McKeown SDLP


Castle electoral area has six wards: Bellevue, Cavehill, Chichester Park, Duncairn, Fortwilliam and Innisfayle. Elected members for Castle are listed in this table.

Name Party
Fred Cobain DUP
Conor Maskey Sinn Féin
Nuala McAllister Alliance
Mal O'Hara Green Party Northern Ireland
Guy Spence DUP
Carl Whyte SDLP


Collin electoral area has six wards: Dunmurry, Ladybrook, Lagmore,Poleglass, Stewartstown and Twinbrook. Elected members for Collin are listed in this table.

Name Party
Daniel Baker Sinn Féin
Michael Collins People Before Profit
Matt Garrett Sinn Féin
Brian Heading SDLP
Stephen Magennis Sinn Féin
Séanna Walsh Sinn Féin


Court electoral area has six wards: Ballygomartin, Clonard, Falls, Forth River, Shankill and Woodvale. Elected members for Court are listed in this table.

Name Party
Christina Black Sinn Féin
Claire Canavan Sinn Féin
Billy Hutchinson DUP
Brian Kingston DUP
Frank McCoubrey DUP
Nicola Verner DUP


Lisnasharragh electoral area has six wards: Cregagh, Hillfoot, Merok, Orangefield, Ravenhill and Rosetta. Elected members for Lisnasharragh are listed in this table.

Name Party
David Brooks DUP
Séamas de Faoite  SDLP
Eric Hanvey  Alliance
Michael Long Alliance
Tommy Sandford   DUP
Brian Smyth Green Party Northern Ireland


Oldpark electoral area has six wards: Ardoyne, Ballysillan, Cliftonville, Legoniel, New Lodge and Water Works. Elected member for Oldpark are listed in this table.

Name Party
Shauneen Baker Sinn Féin
Fiona Ferguson People Before Profit
J J Magee Sinn Féin
Paul McCusker SDLP
Ryan Murphy Sinn Féin
Dale Pankhurst  DUP


Ormiston electoral area has seven wards: Belmont, Garnerville, Gilnahirk, Knock, Sandown, Shandon and Stormont. Elected members for Ormiston are listed in this table.

Name Party
Anthony Flynn  Green Party Northern Ireland
Tom Haire DUP
John Hussey DUP
Ross McMullan Alliance
Peter McReynolds Alliance
Sian O'Neill Alliance
Jim Rodgers OBE UUP


Titanic electoral area has six wards: Ballymacarrett, Beersbridge, Bloomfield, Connswater, Sydenham and Woodstock. Elected members for Titanic are listed in this table.

Name Party
Sonia Copeland UUP
George Dorrian DUP
Carole Howard Alliance
Michelle Kelly Alliance
John Kyle PUP
Adam Newton DUP

Tell us what you think

To contact us with your feedback on our corporate plan:

You can also write to:

Strategy, Policy and Partnership Team City Hall

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