Health, Social and Environmental Wellbeing


The purpose of the network is to develop member awareness and capacity in relation to community planning and wellbeing and to lobby for strengthened legislation, guidance and support for councils in this regard.

Cllr John Coyle Chair

Network Members - Cllr John Coyle (F&O) Chair, Cllr Rachel Ferguson (D&S) Vice-Chair, Cllr Roisin Lynch (A&N), Cllr Richard Smart (A&ND), Cllr Thomas Larkham (ABC), Cllr Michael Donnelly (BCC), Cllr Stephanie Quigley (CCG), Cllr Rachel Ferguson (D&S), Cllr Victor Warrington (F&O), Cllr Hazel Legge (LCCC), Cllr John McDermott (MEA) and Cllr Christine McFlynn. 


Democratic Scrutiny of: Departmental and partner organisation input in relation to priority Environment, Social and Health issues, and to develop regional policy approaches on these and related issues.

Monitoring the progress of the relationship between government departments and councils on community, health and environment issues, including relationships with arms-length bodies

Oversight of the partnership work between local and central government and partners on delivery of key issues impacting on councils, and on which council can have an influence.

Promotion of good practice: Development of collaborative approaches, development of elected member understanding and awareness of issues

Lobbying for improvements and for resources to deliver

Priority Issues

  1. Climate action, energy efficiency, carbon reduction, sustainable development implementation
  2. The council civic leadership role/delivery of services for improving mental health
  3. The council role in advising on welfare reform and tackling poverty locally – food, fuel, child poverty
  4. The council role and delivery of services for improving physical health/sport strategy
  5. Lobbying for better childcare provision (strategy/cost issues)
  6. The council role in tackling rural isolation
  7. Implementation of community plans and wellbeing policy
  8. Promotion of the council role in halting biodiversity loss
  9. Tackling anti-social behaviour locally


Outcomes to be achieved by May 2023

Progress at end March 2019

Each council will have developed a contemporised climate action plan, embedding the adaptation cycle as expressed in the local government chapter of the draft 2019 NI Climate Change Adaptation Programme

All councils working collaboratively to develop a climate action plan for each council, with the assistance of Climate NI, Sustainable NI and NILGA. NILGA supporting councils to lobby for resources to sustain this work. NILGA and partners taking a strategic approach to member training

Councils will be working collaboratively with each other and with government on approaches to waste management and the circular economy

All councils working collaboratively on development of a single Waste Management Plan, with regular 11 council officer meetings Collaborative central local working in relation to strategic and contingency planning in progress

Elected members will more fully understand the civic leadership role of the council in halting biodiversity loss, carbon reduction, and energy efficiency

NILGA response to call for evidence on an Environment Strategy produced in liaison with councils. NILGA and partners currently sourcing carbon literacy training

Elected members will be equipped with timely and necessary information on welfare reform changes, through provision of an elected member guide

All relevant information now on DfC website. Update provided to network by Law Centre. Dynamic policy environment  - mitigations recently approved by returned Assembly        NILGA and partners currently assessing need for regional training – substantial training has taken place locally with AdviceNI.

Elected members will more fully understand the role of the council in combatting poverty, through provision of a regional event

Poverty and Mental Health Event postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Consideration being given to event later in the year - possibly web-based.

Elected members will be furnished with contemporary information on innovative work/thinking to develop approaches to well-being, participatory democracy and community cohesion

Links provided on NILGA website

Elected members will be supported to lobby for improved childcare provision and policy in NI

Awaiting draft Childcare Strategy as articulated in New DNA agreement. NILGA and BCC held meetings recently with Education Minister

Councils will be working collaboratively with each other and with government on approaches to physical and mental health improvements

Poverty and Mental Health Event postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Consideration being given to event later in the year - possibly web-based.

Elected members will more fully understand the role of the council in prevention of ill-health

Wellbeing Bulletins provided regularly

January 2020 - Climate Action Update: With Climate NI - NICCAP, council climate actions to date, Derry and Strabane toolkit, taking carbon reduction forward.

March 2020 - Conference - Regional event Caring Councils – Event Postponed

June 2020

  • Conference - Community Planning, with DfC and Carnegie UK
  • Meeting - Informing the call for evidence on the circular economy – joint working with Economy & International Affairs Network

September 2020 - Focus on Mental Health and Suicide Prevention – seeking urban and rural solutions

December 2020 - Council parks and leisure services driving improvement in health, well-being and biodiversity

March 2021

  • ‘Halfway point’ review Informing the forthcoming Programme for Government - maintaining the focus on wellbeing
  • Climate action update – progress on council NICCAP actions
  • Midway report on progress of the Network – affirmation of plan to 2023

June 2021 - Focus on policing and community safety – tackling antisocial behaviour and improving community cohesion

September 2021 - Review of welfare provisions and contemporary situation in relation to poverty and multiple deprivation

December 2021 - Improving mental health in communities – the council role

March 2022 - Resource efficiency and circular economy update

June 2022 - Focus on food: security, sufficiency, quality, affordability

September 2022 - Focus on fuel: reliance on carbon, affordable warmth, future strategy

December 2022 - Community Planning update and progress                       

March 2023 - Final meeting pre-election. Report on achieving the outcomes

NILGA Support Officer

Please fill in the following form to get in touch with the NILGA support officer for this Network.

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