Social Impact Assessment

What is Social Impact Assessment?

Social impact assessment aims to identify and assess the likely positive and negative social consequences of proposals for change including proposed developments, policies, plans and planning instruments, before decisions are made. This means, assessing the likely impacts on affected groups of people and on their way of life, life chances, health, culture and capacity to sustain these.

Social impact assessment is an important part of planning and decision making processes. If done correctly, social impact assessments will anticipate the likely impact of proposed changes, and optimise social outcomes and community well-being as a result.

Social impact assessments are generally required for, but not limited to, proposals such as:

  1. Larger developments, including: major retail, residential, sports or social infrastructure proposals;
  2. A significant change of land use;
  3. New planning policies and amendments to plans; and
  4. Controversial uses or increases in intensity (e.g. brothels, gun shops, gaming or liquor outlets).

For a comprehensive list, please refer to Council’s Social Impact Assessment Policy and Development Control Plan (Draft Amendment No. 19), which can be downloaded below.

Social impact assessment should be undertaken by appropriately trained and qualified personnel using rigorous social science methodologies and with a high degree of public involvement.

Council's Social Impact Assessment Policy and Development Control Plan

Council’s Social Impact Assessment Policy and Liverpool Development Control Plan (LDCP) 2008 (Draft Amendment No. 19) were adopted by Council on 26 August 2015. The Policy and Guidelines were recently reviewed and adopted by Council on 13 March 2023.

These documents provide applicants with guidance on the requirements for social impact assessment while the LDCP amendment adds controls relating to the preparation of social impact assessments as part of applications for development.

In accordance with Clause 21 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000, the amendment was published and came into effect on 9 September 2015.

To download the policy or DCP, please go to the Downloads section at the bottom of this page.


For more information about requirements for social impact assessment, please contact Council's Coordinator Community Planning on 8711 7805 or email