An Integrated Development Plan (IDP) is a super plan for an area that gives an overall framework for development. It aims to co-ordinate the work of local and other spheres of government in a coherent plan to improve the quality of life for all the people living in an area.
It should take into account the existing conditions and problems and resources available for development. The plan should look at economic and social development for the area as a whole. It must set a framework for how land should be used, what infrastructure and services are needed and how the environment should be protected
Local municipalities in South Africa use IDPs as a method to plan present and future development in their respective areas. It is an approach to planning that involves the municipality officials and residents of those municipalities to find the best solutions to achieve positive long-term development, which acknowledges residents as people who best know what they need.
The IDP has a lifespan of 5 years that is linked directly to the term of office for local councillors, but is reviewed every year to allow for necessary changes to be made. After every local government election, the new council has to decide on the future of the IDP, it can choose to adopt the existing IDP or develop a new one that takes into consideration existing plans.