Stakeholder Evaluation of Planning Project (SEPP)
This project provides a rare insight into how a broad section of stakeholders view the planning system. It seeks to compare and contrast stakeholder opinion of the planning systems in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Wales and is designed to explore:
- The role and extent of stakeholder engagement with these planning systems;
- Views of the planning system in relation to the public interest and other issues;
- Changes in perceptions, based on a survey of a comparable stakeholder population in Northern Ireland, carried out in 2011;
- Perceived relationships between various stakeholders;
- Priorities for reform or change.
The research centres on a major online survey of individuals recruited to represent citizens and public, private and voluntary sector interests with direct involvement in planning. It builds upon previous a survey conducted at the School of Natural and Built Environment SNBE in 2011 to examine how attitudes have changed in Northern Ireland since the introduction of significant planning reforms. However, it goes beyond the remit of the original survey by exploring how stakeholder views might differ in other jurisdictions, namely the Republic of Ireland and Wales. The research highlights what amounts to a widespread crisis of confidence in planning and identifies a clear set of priorities that need to be addressed as part of a programme of planning reform.
Impact of Research
This project has been designed to directly inform the discussion, design and delivery of planning policy and the governance, resourcing and regulation of development. To date, summary findings have been circulated to a broad range of stakeholders through a public webinar hosted in June 2020. Those who participated included:
- Elected decision-makers responsible for the oversight and legislative reform of planning systems;
- Public sector planners and managers responsible for the delivery of planning systems;
- Private sector organisations seeking to develop and apply codes of ethical conduct and improved customer and partner relationships;
- Researchers involved in the conceptualisation, analysis and evaluation of planning systems;
- Third sector groups and individuals seeking to represent public interests through the planning system.
Despite being at the early stages of dissemination, the project has attracted significant interest from the wider policy community and has received coverage in the national media (Macauley, 2020). The research team have been invited to share findings with Department for Infrastructure who are at the centre of the delivery of Northern Ireland’s planning system, as well as other third sector groups such as Development Trusts Northern Ireland who work to create more sustainable communities though collective local intervention in the social economy. The research team have been invited to share findings with Department for Infrastructure who are at the centre of the delivery of Northern Ireland’s planning system, as well as other third sector groups such as Development Trusts Northern Ireland (https://www.dtni.org.uk), who have used the research as a basis of their campaign to enhance community rights in the NI planning system (see https://www.dtni.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Building-the-Capacity-of-the-Planning-System-by-Jenny-Crawford-et-al.pdf).
Development Trust NI (2021) Shaping Spatial Planning https://www.dtni.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Community-rights-compendium-of-papers.pdf, which draws on the project findings.
Fox-Rogers, L., Crawford, J., Ellis, G., Sartorio, F., Scarfi, A. & Morgan, S. (2020) Stakeholder Evaluation of Planning in Northern Ireland: Initial Survey Findings, June 2020, Queens University Belfast.
- Dr Linda Fox-Rogers, Queen’s University Belfast https://pure.qub.ac.uk/en/persons/linda-fox-rogers
- Professor Geraint Ellis, Queen’s University Belfast https://pure.qub.ac.uk/en/persons/geraint-ellis
- Dr Jenny Crawford, Queen’s University Belfast
- Dr Francesca Sartorio, Cardiff University https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/people/view/363280-sartorio-francesca
- Dr Amanda Scarfi, Cardiff University
- Dr Selyf Morgan, Cardiff Metropolitan University
Sustainable Development Goals
The research is closely aligned with SDG 16 which seeks to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Specifically, the project highlights issues of inclusion, trust, and accountability in the planning system and identifies priorities for reform to redress them. The project also supports SDG11 which centres around making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable by highlighting key priority areas that the planning system needs to focus on in this regard, namely: climate change; open/green space provision; socially balanced communities and affordable housing.
Find out more
Keywords associated with the Research
Planning system, stakeholder views, survey, institutional trust, planning reform, transparency, accountability, public participation
Contact Details / Social Media
Dr. Linda Fox-Rogers
Queen's University Belfast
David Keir Building
Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 4357
Further relevant info
- Macauley , C. (2020) NI planning system has low levels of public trust, research finds. Available to view at: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-53179484