The Spaces and Places Strategy is a regional approach to investing wisely in Southland’s future infrastructure. The Strategy identifies a planning process for projects which will assist with identifying the need.
Identifying the Need
A needs assessment provides robust data and evidence to inform decisions. It critically establishes the wants from the need. Need can be quantified through research and evidence.
To make sound investment with a limited pot of resources, decisions need to be made considering the Southland region as a whole.
It should be about understanding what is happening in our geographic area and community.
Evidence-based project need is required before moving to phase 2. A project may be reworked in phase 1 multiple times to satisfy the criteria before progressing.
This involves in-depth research in the community of both users and non-users in tandem with analysis of supply and demand to establish an actual need for facility development.
This is to be compared with other options that could match an identified need through alternative programmes, pricing or travel.
Key reasons for completing a needs assessment are:
To provide robust evidence on the need and merits of a facility development
To inform the appropriate scope, scale, elements and timing of facility development
By comparison to facility costs, a needs assessment is a cheap way to determine/justify why a facility development is not required.
Without a needs assessment it will become increasingly difficult to gain political or financial support for facility development.
Have you thought about?
What are the key reasons for developing the facility?
Think about who the facility is really for and why they need it. (i.e. membership growth, current facility in disrepair, no facility and need one). Consider if it is actually needed or if another option exists to cater for the users.
What are the needs of the community (users and non-users)?
Conduct active research into what the community needs. What are the current trends? Who will use it? How can the project appeal and cater for a broad range of the community?
Are there potential partners or collaborators?
There could be other user groups looking to develop or create a facility. Combining and sharing resources increases your ability to achieve more.
Is there a possibility for co-location or integration with other community facilities?
Look around at what already exists. There may be another organisation that has facilities which could be shared to benefit each other.
What are cultural responsibilities?
Can the cultural narrative of the project be explained, and does it uphold the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (Partnership, Protection and Participation)?
Have you consulted with the landlord/owner?
Landlord/owner might have a master planning document with a future in mind. Consult and be upfront with your ideas. Early collaboration will identify roadblocks early in the process.
Does the project consider a whole life cycle?
Often projects fall down by thinking it finishes with the development of the facility but there are ongoing running, maintenance and insurance costs. Have these been considered and planned for?
Taking time to go through these steps first will save time and energy in the long run. If it is not done now, it will have to be at some point in your process. Work through the questions above and in the 'more considerations' document below.
Use the needs assessment checklist as a guide. We have also supplied a needs assessment exemplar to help. Please do reach out to us for assistance and advice.