‘Evidence base’ – words to set fear in the hearts of all planners! Yes we’ve got to put them together and then do something with them ( well that is part of the deal if you’re a planner). And, realism check – we’re not going to get away from them!
But I’ve just been reading the feedback from our IDP pilots for our Q2 report and lots of it’s to do with data gathering and evidence and …. I’m heartened – which in relation to an evidence base is a seriously shocking experience! Why heartened?
Firstly – gathering evidence is easier the LSP way. Advice from the LSP world early in the project – do what you can and let the others fill in the gaps. Put together a schedule of infrastructure items you need to deliver your core strategy. Include all the information you can get from immediately available sources and then sent it out (clearly stamped as draft) to the relevant people for checking, updating or filling in. This has been widely embraced by our pilots and it seems to be working.
Secondly – engagement. Hard to believe but these schedules are also helping with engagement. Most of the organizations we need to work with aren’t talking to each other either (it’s not just us they are ignoring!) and so suddenly they have details of what others are spending their money on – well who wouldn’t be interested? Not just because they’re nosy – seeing where money is being spent in their area could just help them eek out and be more creative with their own budgets. The opportunity to find out more of this info might encourage them to come along to our meetings. One of our pilots has started producing a ‘tabloid’ version of their IDP schedule. This is valuable information – don’t keep it to yourselves!
Thirdly – co-location. We’re almost getting down to planning here! When service providers start seeing how they can potentially achieve efficiencies and better service delivery through co-location we really are making serious progress to getting their interest and involvement in the LDF and preparing our DPDs!