Integrated planning is a holistic approach to addressing the needs of local communities built on partnerships between those responsible for development, environmental quality and service provision. This study investigated the extent and key influences on the use of integrated planning to promote physical activity among six metropolitan councils in Melbourne Australia, which took part in the MetroACTIVE Project funded by the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation from 2005 to 2007. The evaluation entailed interviews conducted at the mid-term (N = 67) and completion (N = 50) of the project, and the review of relevant documents. Respondents included elected councillors, chief executive officers, officers from different council divisions and the project staff employed in each council. Three councils showed evidence of integrated planning for physical activity, whereas the remainder focused on the delivery of community participation programs. Leadership from senior management and an organizational culture that supported collaboration across council departments were prerequisites for integrated planning. Employment of a dedicated project officer with skills for engaging management and building partnerships within the organization was important. Barriers to integrated planning were a complex organization structure, high demands on the council due to a growing residential population and a poor climate among staff. Overall, integrated planning was found to be a viable approach for developing a coordinated approach to this issue involving the range of council services and functions. Ongoing strategies are needed to facilitate senior management commitment and organizational capacity for integrated planning, with leadership provided by departments responsible for infrastructure or corporate planning.
Keywords: physical activity; policy and implementation analysis; capacity building; healthy municipalities
Journal Article. 5115 words. Illustrated.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology
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