Social Planning

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Social planning is a discipline of strategic planning applied to addressing identified social objectives.

Sustainability in planning balances social, environmental and economic aspects of development and resource management. Barr Planning offers a range of social planning services alongside traditional town planning, to examine the social impacts of development, and design strategies to enhance and benefit the community.

Social Impact Assessment (SIA):

Social Impact Assessment (SIA) is a proactive assessment of development to understand the positive and negative impacts on a community. SIA places people at the heart of the assessment process and strives to maximise positive benefits and mitigate or minimise negative impacts to bring about a more sustainable and equitable environment.

The requirement of a SIA is generally dependent on the size, scale or cost of the proposed development. In NSW all State Significant Development applications are required to include a SIA as part of their documentation. Council’s may also specify development that requires a SIA including:

  • Licensed premises
  • Early childhood care centres
  • Schools and educational establishments
  • Boarding houses
  • Hospitals or medical centres
  • Places of public worship
  • Large scale industrial or commercial developments
  • Planning proposals

As planning practitioners immersed in all aspects of the development process Barr Planning has a unique perspective and opportunity to ensure project synergies and avoid duplication. We take a conscientious approach in preparing SIAs to understand the social, economic and biophysical environment to develop social capital and achieve ecologically sustainable development.

Barr Planning team, town planning
Social Impact Assessment Process - Barr Planning
Demographic Analysis
Demographic analysis is used to understand the underlying characteristics of a community and to inform the SIA. It provides the baseline in which impacts both negative and positive can be measured. The demographic profile assists in determining the community consultation methodology to effectively engage with the community.

A demographic profile can also be prepared as a standalone document for use by developers and project managers to understand a community.

Community & Stakeholder Engagement Plans
Community and stakeholder engagement is a critical element of an SIA and the Social Impact Management Plan Framework. Understanding the community and their real and perceived concerns about a development is a key process to be able to mitigate negative social impacts and monitor them over the life of the project.

Each SIA prepared by Barr Planning will have an element of community and stakeholder consultation. The level of consultation is dictated by the nature and scale of the development and its locality and is tailored to the community.

Community and Stakeholder Engagement Plans can be prepared as a standalone document when required by the assessment process.

Engagement Outcomes Report
The Engagement Outcomes Report is a summary document of the outcomes of the consultation and engagement with stakeholders.

The Engagement Outcomes Report is typically appended to the SIA.

Social Impact Management Plans
A SIA may recommend the preparation of a Social Impact Management Plan (SIMP). This is a technical document outlining the framework for management of significant social impacts identified in the SIA. The complexity of a SIMP will be dependent on the scale of the development. SIMP is required to be prepared prior to the commencement of any development activity.