DCLG Neighbourhood Planning initiative wins global transparency award

11 Dec 2015, 8:50 am

A Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) initiative that gives communities power to have a say in the development of their area is one of three overall winners of the global Open Government Awards from the Open Government Partnership. 

2015-bronzeThe UK’s submission of The Neighbourhood Planning programme came from the Cabinet Office Transparency Team and was officially nominated by Minister for Cabinet Office Matt Hancock.

The first prize went to Uruguay for ATuServicio.uy, which gives citizens access to health care providers’ performance indicator data. Indonesia came second, for Pencerah Nusantara (The Guiding Lights of the Archipelago), a partnership to address complex health challenges faced by an archipelago, followed by the UK in third place.

The ‘regional’ winners were: Armenia, Croatia, Mexico and Tunisia. Around 40 Governments submitted a project for consideration in total.

The theme of this year’s awards, which celebrate openness and transparency, was ‘Improving public services through open government’, in other words, OGP asked countries to showcase how open government initiatives have resulted in concrete improvements in the delivery of public services.

The judging panel – which included individuals from Governments, banks and universities from around the world – were particularly looking out for submissions that benefitted vulnerable people.

Neighbourhood planning allows residents and businesses to have their own planning policies in a neighbourhood plan that reflect their priorities and have real weight in planning decisions, for example, ensuring there are sufficient affordable homes in the area or improving high streets.

The DCLG programme, introduced in 2011 through the Localism Act, offers a range of digital material to help communities creating neighbourhood plans, such as One Neighbourhood Planning website offering information and advice on community-led housing, community-run services and asset transfer, among others.

The My Community website shows what grants and support are available to communities and offers real-life stories. Neighbourhood Planning also offers a range of useful information and resources online, such as templates and how-to videos on topics such as working collaboratively.

At the time of writing, 122 planning referendums have been passed nationally as a result of the initiative. The programme set up an interactive map to show where all Neighbourhood Planning referendums took place and what they concerned.

The awards are open to OGP participating governments.OGP was launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable and responsive to citizens.