Strategic Innovation Fund

Community Led Integrated Planning (CLIP)

Project Data

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End date:





CLIP is pioneering a community-led Net Zero planning approach for multiple clusters of communities. By using an innovative circular digital planning process, it addresses existing gaps in local area energy planning, enabling collaboration between communities, DNOs, and local authorities to develop unique and tailored decarbonisation plans for communities.

What is the project about?

The Community Led Integrated Planning project is designed to empower local communities to take an active role in shaping their development and future. This initiative focuses on integrating community voices and insights into planning processes to ensure that development strategies are more inclusive, responsive, and sustainable. The project supports grassroots involvement in decision-making, fostering collaboration among residents, local organisations, and government entities. The goal is to create tailored solutions that address specific community needs, enhance social cohesion, and promote long-term resilience.  

The project employs innovative tools and methodologies to facilitate community engagement, such as participatory mapping, digital platforms for feedback, and collaborative workshops. These efforts are aimed at ensuring that all community members, including marginalised groups, have a say in the planning and implementation of projects that affect their lives. Ultimately, project aims to build stronger, more vibrant communities by fostering a sense of ownership and accountability, leading to more effective and sustainable development outcomes. 

How we’re doing it

The Discovery Phase involved a small consortium including UK Power Networks, Buro Happold and Community Energy South with each bringing very specialist capability and experience. During this phase the Project Team set about conducting desktop and user research with key roles and organisations to validate and iterate on the problem definition and various possible solutions. The outputs of this phase include: 

  • Gap analysis 
  • Community Engagement Strategy 
  • CLIP Process and Approach 
  • Network Process Analysis 

In Alpha, the Project Team aims to design the end to end solutions with detailed requirements specifications and some prototype testing.  

In Beta, the Project Team will aim to bring the requirements and wireframes to life with a fully developed and tested end to end framework including guidance, tools, and data ready for launch.  

What makes it innovative

The Community Led Integrated Planning approach is innovative due to its emphasis on genuine grassroots participation, its use of advanced participatory tools, and its holistic, inclusive methodology. This approach empowers community members to be active participants in decision-making processes and ensures that development initiatives are deeply rooted in the actual needs and aspirations of the people they are designed to serve. 

One of the key innovative elements is the use of digital platforms and participatory mapping tools, which allow for real-time feedback and collaboration. These technologies make it easier for diverse community members, including those who might be marginalized or less likely to participate in traditional forums, to have their voices heard. This not only democratizes the planning process but also enhances transparency and accountability. 

Additionally, the approach fosters strong partnerships between local residents, organisations, and government bodies. By breaking down silos and encouraging collaborative problem-solving, it leverages the strengths and resources of all stakeholders involved. This integrated strategy ensures that solutions are comprehensive and sustainable, addressing various aspects of community well-being simultaneously. 

Overall, the innovative nature of the Community Led Integrated Planning approach lies in its commitment to inclusivity, its use of cutting-edge participatory methods, and its holistic, collaborative framework. 

What we’re learning

The key lessons learnt include: 

  1. Community Engagement is Crucial: Effective engagement of community members from the outset is essential. Building trust and ensuring that all voices are heard, especially those from marginalised groups, leads to more comprehensive and accepted outcomes.
  2. Flexibility and Adaptability: The project needs to remain flexible and adaptable to respond to changing community needs and feedback. This requires a willingness to adjust plans and strategies based on real-time input and circumstances.
  3. Capacity Building is Key: Empowering community members through training and capacity-building initiatives enhances their ability to participate meaningfully in the planning process. This investment in local skills and knowledge creates a stronger foundation for sustainable development.
  4. Leveraging Technology Effectively: The use of digital tools and platforms can significantly enhance participation and transparency. However, it’s important to ensure these technologies are accessible to all community members, including those with limited digital literacy.
  5. Partnerships Enhance Impact: Strong partnerships between community organisations, local authorities, and other stakeholders are vital. These collaborations help to align goals, share resources, and create a unified approach to community development.
  6. Inclusive Decision-Making Leads to Better Outcomes: Inclusive decision-making processes that involve a wide range of community members lead to more holistic and accepted solutions. Ensuring that all demographic groups are represented helps to address diverse needs and priorities.
  7. Continuous Monitoring and Feedback: Regular monitoring and feedback mechanisms are essential to track progress, measure impact, and make necessary adjustments. This continuous loop of feedback ensures that the project remains on track and responsive to community needs.
  8. Building a Sense of Ownership: When community members feel a sense of ownership over the planning process and outcomes, they are more likely to support and sustain the initiatives. This sense of ownership is fostered through active participation and transparent communication.

 These lessons underscore the importance of a participatory, inclusive, and adaptable approach to community development, ensuring that projects are not only effective but also sustainable in the long term. 


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