What is Integrated Development Planning?

Municipalities in different parts of the world are getting smarter to find solutions to major old and complex problems. And while the purpose or reason vary, “integrated development planning” is increasingly selected as the method of choice to plan future development or restoration in towns, cities and even international regions increasingly challenged by social/cultural, economic, political or ecological system failures. Major devastating events, migration, population growth are all factors in the need for all levels of governments and civil societies to be more constructive in terms of developmental, in order to overcome the poor planning of the past and relational or change inertia. 

Integrated Development Planning is an approach to planning that involves the entire municipality and its civil society in better identifying problems, needs and values, to finding the best possible solutions to short-term imperatives and good long-term expert, infrastructure and resource management competencies. All of which are critical to minimize negative impacts, while optimizing positive impacts for sustainable solutions to wickedly complex long-standing generativity and productivity problems.  

An Integrated Development Plan (IDP) is a super plan for an area that gives an overall framework for development. It aims to co-ordinate the work of local and other spheres of government in a coherent plan to improve the quality of life for all the people living in a specific area. IDP models can also now increasingly be found at other levels of governments, in civil society movements, organizational project management, project management offices, portfolio, program and portfolio management with varying degree of success, depending on competencies and accountability. That’s because an IDP should take into account the existing conditions and problems and resources available for development. Which means that a clear understanding of differences between cause and effects, as well as problem root causes; clarity on causes/needs and values. It also means that the plan has to address sustainable social/cultural, ecosystem, political and economic development for the communities of place, interest and profession of the area as a whole, rather than in silo.  

In short, an IDP must set a framework of terms and references to establish the best possible built environment conditions to meet the established imperatives. This way the why, how and what are expert, infrastructure and resource requirements and expectations in terms of competencies are made clear and the goals/targets to address micro to meta environments are clear from the onset by all concerns.  

In south Africa for instance, all municipalities have to produce an Integrated Development Plan. The municipality is responsible for the co-ordination of the IDP and must draw in other stakeholders in the area who can impact on and/or benefit from development in the area. Once the IDP is drawn up all municipal planning and projects should happen in terms of the IDP. The annual council budget should is based on the IDP. Further there other government departments working in the area are encouraged to use this methodology when making their own plans. In this context, the following are assumed and/or applicable: 

  • It should take 6 to 9 months to develop an IDP. 
  • During this period service delivery and development continues. 
  • The IDP is reviewed every year and necessary changes can be made.
  • The IDP has a lifespan of 5 years that is linked directly to the term of office for local councilors. 
  • After every local government elections, the new council has to decide on the future of the IDP. 
  • The council can adopt the existing IDP or develop a new IDP that takes into consideration existing plans.
  • The executive committee or executive mayors of the municipality have to manage the IDP. 
  • They may assign this responsibility to the municipal manager.
  • In most municipalities, an IDP co-ordinator is appointed to oversee the process. 
  • The IDP co-ordinator reports directly to the municipal manager and the executive committee or the executive mayor.
  • The IDP has to be drawn up in consultation with forums and stakeholders. The final IDP document has to be approved by the council.

Why is in important for municipalities to do an IDP

There are six main reasons why a municipality should have an IDP:

  1. Effective use of scarce or limited resources 
    • Focusing on priorities and managing dueling priorities at all levels
    • Find the most cost-effective ways of providing goods and services, while fixing problem causes. e.g.: A municipality may decide to allocate resources to building a canal to prevent home seasonal flooding and damages. This will reduce the financial burden placed on the municipality’s emergency services.
  2. Speeding up program and project delivery
    • In the municipal context, the IDP should identify the least serviced and most impoverished areas and points to where municipal funds should be spent. When the relevant stakeholders are included in the concept or initial process, then Implementation is made much easier as deadlock-breaking mechanisms are used. These ensure that projects and programs are efficiently implemented. 
    • The IDP helps to develop realistic project proposals based on the availability of resources.
  3. Leverages partnerships  
    • Public and private sectors investors in those with clear development plans that leverage partnerships 
  4. Strengthens democracy
    • Through the active participation of all the important stakeholders, decisions are made in a democratic and transparent manner.
  5. Overcome relational inertia and undesirable legacies 
    • Resources are used to integrate rural and urban areas and to extend services to those who need it.
  6. Promotes co-ordination at all levels 
    • The different spheres of government are encouraged to work in a coordinated manner to tackle the development needs in a local area. For example: The Department of Health plans to build a clinic in an area. It has to check that the municipality can provide services like water and sanitation for the effective functioning of the clinic.

Who are the stakeholders in the Integrated Development Planning?

The answer to this depends on the context. In a municipal context for instance, the stakeholders would at least include he municipality, councillors, communities of place interest and profession, other sub-national governments and other stakeholders, especially primary. This said, the more secondary and even tertiary or outside stakeholders are included, the better the plan.  

What is the IDP Process?

Before starting the planning process, an IDP Process Plan must be drawn up. This plan is meant to ensure the proper management of the planning process.

This plan should outline:

  • The structures that will manage the planning process
  • How the public can participate and structures that will be created to ensure this participation
  • Time schedule for the planning process
  • Who is responsible for what
  • How will the process be monitored

At a regional or district level, a framework is developed in consultation with all local municipalities within the region. This framework ensures co-ordination, consultation and alignment between the set region or district. This could be for instance a country, a province or state integrating with their respective local municipalities. 

This could also be a large industrial, commercial and institutional campus 

The framework will guide the development of the IDP Process Plan for each local municipality, regardless of why, how and what the phases are named. What is critical is that key elements are included in the 

  1. Organizational Program/Project Management to align inventory, analysis and strategies  
  2. Project Management Office to support, portfolio, program and project managers.
  3. Independent 3rd for approvals 

The IDP and Public Participation

Establishing an IDP Open Geospatial Consortium holding forums, summits, ‘Charrettes’ and consultations to foster the participation of communities and other stakeholders is key to the IDP successful delivery and subsequent operations and maintenance. Participants should include:

  • Members of the executive committee of the council
  • Councillors including district councillors
  • Traditional leaders
  • Ward committee representative
  • Heads of departments and senior officials from municipal and government department
  • representatives from organised stakeholder groups
  • People who fight for the rights of unorganised groups – e.g. A gender activist
  • Resource people or advisors
  • Community representatives (Communities of place, interest and profession)

In a municipal context, the purpose of the this forum is to:

  • Provide an opportunity for stakeholders to represent the interests of their constituencies.
  • Provide a structure for discussion, negotiations and joint decision making
  • Ensure proper communication between all stakeholders and the municipality
  • Monitor the planning and implementation process

A code of conduct should be drawn up provides details on:

  • Meetings – frequency and attendance
  • Agenda, facilitation and recording of proceedings
  • Understanding the role of various stakeholders as representatives of their constituencies
  • How feedback to constituencies will take place
  • Required majority for decisions to be taken
  • How disputes will be resolved

The responsible organization should also approve a strategy for public participation. The strategy must decide, among other things, on:

  • The roles of the different stakeholders during the participation process
  • Ways to encourage the participation of unorganised groups
  • Method to ensure participation during the different phases of planning
  • Timeframes for public and stakeholder response, inputs and comments
  • Ways to disseminate information
  • Means to collect information on community needs

Please support our Integrated Development Planning efforts, and/or contact us for assistance in your own IDP