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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 04/07/2005
Planning Service Improvements : Improving Efficiency



Summary & Purpose
This report explains the exercise that has been carried and the work in hand to maximise the efficiency of the department in the Development Control process. This is work in progress and further detailed changes will reported in due course.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive


APPENDIX C
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

MODERNISING PLANNING SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP-
29TH JUNE 2005

ENVIRONMENT AND LEISURE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
4TH JULY 2005

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Title:
PLANNING SERVICE IMPROVEMENTS:IMPROVING EFFICIENCY

[Wards Affected: All]

Summary and purpose:

This report explains the exercise that has been carried and the work in hand to maximise the efficiency of the department in the Development Control process. This is work in progress and further detailed changes will reported in due course.

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Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

E-Government implications:

The ICT systems and their development is a critical component of continuing service delivery. The report makes specific reference to recent and imminent ICT developments already in hand.

Resource and legal implications:

There are no direct additional burdens on resources. The improvements in process backed continuing culture change will in the long-term ease pressure on staff. In the short term additional energy will be required to manage and put in place improvements.

Introduction

1. Managers recognised that the service had undergone significant change since 2000. These include advances in ICT, restructuring, recruitment and retention issues, improved delegation and the implementation of a new planning system. Due to the pressure on staff it has became difficult to review processes and the departmental manual at a pace consistent with the change programme. In order to put in place an up to date process manual and iron out inefficiencies Croft Consulting was commissioned via Solace to assist this work. The brief not only involved putting in place a procedural manual but also included reviewing problems and creating better and smarter ways of working.

2. The report of Croft Consulting is attached as Annexe 1 to this report for Members information.

Managing Development

3. The new planning system is much more focused on managing development rather than controlling it. The Council in its Corporate Plan wishes to move to a more shaping agenda rather than controlling consistent with this approach. The model of the service that is emerging is as follows:-

Emphasis on spatial planning to facilitate the community and national objectives. i.e. the Local Development Framework.

A focus on pre-application discussion. Development Briefs, concept plans, process contracts, Development Control Consultative Forums.

Application processing – seen more as administrative process.

Implementation and enforcement of policies.

4. The first three bullet points are all underpinned by greater community involvement in the process and the concept of front loading. This why the Development Control process, the traditional area of planning focus, is seen as a more administrative process then the current system.

5. The implications for Members roles and requirements will no doubt change as the service evolves. For example the importance of pre application discussions in solving community issues is likely to become a core activity.

6. The procedures developed have taken account of this new landscape with a view to maximising the efficiency of the service whilst maintaining quality.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the report be noted.

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Background Papers (DoPD)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: John Anderson Telephone: 01483 523298

E-mail: jaanderson@waverley.gov.uk

Comms/SIGS/05-06/027