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Published - September 2023

Belfast Agenda

Our shared values

Our agenda has been influenced by a set of shared values that have shaped its design and will inform its delivery.

  • A focus on outcomes for people
  • Partnerships for collaborative gain
  • Equality and Good Relations
  • Inclusiveness, care and compassion
  • Sustainable development and respect for our environment
  • Resilience for the future
  • Innovative, people-centred design and delivery
  • Decisions driven by evidence

Making it happen

The Belfast Agenda represents a hugely ambitious body of work for the city that will require the active, coordinated participation of many organisations and individuals across many sectors.

It will require new thinking in terms of collaborative planning, financing, data collection, performance management and programme delivery at the city and neighbourhood levels. It will necessitate the adoption of the latest innovations in smart technologies and data analytics.

Ensuring deep linkages with the delivery mechanisms for the Programme for Government will be a critical success factor. The council and its partners will look for complementary opportunities for both plans, not only in terms of resourcing and programme delivery, but also in relation to measurement and shared learning.

Whilst our journey together over past four years has been significant, it is recognised there is further enabling work to be done by all partners to make the Agenda a reality.

This includes:

  • agreement on refreshed governance structures that support co-design, provide clear representation support co-design, provide clear representation and accountability
  • collective performance management arrangements - that provide shared understanding of impact and the effectiveness of delivery;
  • mechanisms for organisations to share evidence, research, and practice to inform decision-making
  • a shared means of working together to test new approaches to ‘intractable’ issues and challenges facing the city and its communities; and
  • enhanced citizen engagement that will enable the Belfast Agenda to be progressed and refreshed on a regular, collaborative basis with our citizens.

As we move to more detailed planning and delivery we need to think locally as well. We want to find better ways to work at a local level – particularly in exploring how we can work with residents and partners to co-design and deliver more effective solutions that can be adopted at scale across the city.

Measuring success

The Belfast Agenda sets the strategic direction for the city’s future. We have set five ambitious targets to achieve by 2035 and identified 48 population indicators to help track our long-term progress to achieving our five outcomes for the city. Together, they provide a sense of whether our city is heading in the right direction and improving the lives of local people.

To measure our success in 2027, we have set challenging targets associated with the successful delivery of immediate priority actions. These are the collective responsibility of the partnership.

We will develop a robust monitoring and reporting framework, to help track our performance against all these measures and ensure regular reporting.

The value of the framework lies in ensuring that the ongoing implementation of delivery plans is responsive to the changing needs of the city and its communities.

Our population indicators

We have identified the following 48 population indicators that will help us track our long-term progress to achieving our five outcomes for the city.

Everyone in Belfast benefits from a thriving and prosperous economy

By 2035, Belfast will have a diverse and growing economy and a bigger and more competitive business base, capable of attracting increased visitors and investment. It will provide high levels of employment, supported by a skilled workforce and the city will create wealth that can be enjoyed by all.

Population indicators
  • City productivity levels
  • Investment into Belfast
  • Total number of businesses in Belfast
  • Total number of business start-ups
  • Proportion of the population living in absolute and relative poverty (before housing costs)
  • Total number of jobs in Belfast
  • Proportion of working-age population in Belfast who are employed
  • Working age employment rate by deprivation
  • Economic inactivity rate (excluding students)
  • Average earnings
  • Total spend by external visitors
  • Supply of housing
  • Number of households in housing stress

Belfast is a vibrant, attractive, connected and environmentally sustainable city

By 2035, everyone will enjoy attractive, well-serviced, clean neighbourhoods and a thriving city centre equipped with a range of facilities, activities and things to do. It will be a city that will encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport, as well as recycling waste and improving energy efficiency. It will be a city where the natural and built beauty of Belfast, linked to its hills, parks, rivers, lough, fine buildings and public space is well protected and can be enjoyed by everyone.

Population Indicators
  • Air quality 
  • Percentage of household waste that is reused, recycled or composted
  • Percentage of all journeys made by walking, cycling or public transport
  • Visitor numbers
  • Engagement in culture and arts activities
  • Number of miles of cycle lanes, footways and footpaths
  • Proportion of energy efficient homes 
  • Satisfaction with Belfast as a place to live 
  • Carbon emissions

Everyone in Belfast experiences good health and wellbeing

By 2035, everyone will live a healthy lifestyle and will experience the best possible physical health and emotional wellbeing. Health inequalities will be reduced and those who suffer from poor health will receive the care and support they need in a compassionate city.

Population indicators
  • Volunteering
  • Self-efficacy
  • Life expectancy at birth
  • Gap in life expectancy by deprivation
  • Babies born at a low birth weight
  • Preventable deaths
  • Proportion of the population of adults who are overweight or obese
  • Proportion of the population of children who are overweight or obese
  • Proportion of population who smoke
  • Proportion of adults drinking above the weekly limits 
  • Proportion of people who rank themselves as having high levels of wellbeing 
  • Proportion of adults who meet CMO’s guidelines for physical activity per week
  • Number of people in treatment for problem drug and/or alcohol misuse

Everyone in Belfast fulfils their potential

By 2035, everyone will be supported and enabled to reach their full potential to succeed and make a positive contribution to city life. Everyone will have access to information, education, training and lifelong learning and can access jobs and opportunities to actively participate in all areas of life.

Population indicators
  • Proportion of working age population who have attained Level 4 or above
  • Proportion of school-leavers achieving Level 2 or above, including English and Maths
  • Gap between per cent of school leavers entitled to free school meals achieving at least Level 2, including English and Maths, and their peers
  • Proportion of school-leavers entering employment, education or training
  • Proportion of pupils with less than 85 per cent school attendance rates
  • Proportion of working age population with no qualifications 

Belfast is a welcoming, safe, fair and inclusive city for all

By 2035, Belfast will be a place where everyone will continue to feel welcome and safe and will be treated fairly with equality and respect in a shared city that values diversity and encourages civic participation.

Population Indicators
  • Number of victims of any crime
  • Number of hate-motivated crimes
  • Proportion of people who feel safe
  • Number of anti-social behaviour incidents
  • Number of people who agree that people from different backgrounds get on well together
  • Proportion of population who believe their cultural identity is respected by society
  • Proportion of young people who think that local facilities are shared and open to all
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