Measures of efficiencies

(Idea gathered from contributions from Stonehaven event)

Performance indicators should be included for developers, to address the misuse of the system by them. Simplified Development Zones should not just be about making it easier for developers but how the community gets input into what the priorities are and so help shape such zones.

Why the contribution is important

(noted above)

by ScotParlModerator on February 20, 2018 at 11:50AM

Current Rating

Average score : 5.0
Based on : 2 votes


  • Posted by davesutto February 27, 2018 at 13:50

    At present the so called “performance indicators” only assesses the speed of decision making (within 8 or 12 weeks?) - but not the quality or Design Review? Not whether in complies with adopted LDP?.

    Yet a poor quality application from a non-qualified person will always take longer to assess than a well designed & consulted on proposal by a suitably qualified agent. That is why there should always be at least ONE free pre-app consultation (so not all consultation meetings are able to be charged for).

    The only useful performance indicator found by Auditors is the "average no of applications determined per qualified planning officer per annum" (in England 150 to 170pa) (i.e. exc admin & managerial staff). So a team of 6 planners determining 900 applications in a year would meet this "sustainable development (under English legislation)" target. However, the last time I checked most Scots LPAs were in 110 to 130 region. This is post ePlanning (from typically 60 to 100 pa pre ePlanning) but pre the PD changes made in 2012 and 2016 .
  • Posted by graemepatrick February 27, 2018 at 16:42

    With regards the issue of performance, I would refer you to an excellent analysis of the 2016/17 Planning Performance Statistics produced by John Watchman for SPEL (October 2017), where he points out that the number of determinations has declined from over 56,000 in 2006/07 to just over 41,000 in 2010/11 and around 27,000 in 2016/17. He concludes that this indicates a significant fall in development management productivity and it certainly confirms my own view that securing planning permission today just takes so much longer.
    I suggest that before we hear anymore from planning authorities and Heads of Planning Scotland (HOPS) about full cost recovery or how the public sector is subsidising the application process, a review of development management services needs to be undertaken by someone other than HOPS itself and I just hope that next time around the Scottish Govt engages in a more meaningful and robust consultation on new fee regulations before imposing future increases.
  • Posted by davesutto March 01, 2018 at 07:46

    The reduction in determinations is nothing to do w performance - and a lot to do with economic context. Yes -there was a large drop in the number of applications (& determinations) post 2009 financial crisis. This - and extended residential PD rights brought in in 2012 are major reasons for changes in no of applications.
     To link this to DM performance is a very poor rationale. False news even!
    Scotland LPAs have the highest rate of approvals across UK - at 94.2% - notably higher than In England & Wales (it was similar in N Ireland before the DOE role was reallocated).

    As Finance Committee heard on 28th Feb, Planning fees pay about 65% of LPA planning costs. This has not substantially changed over past 10 years (only rising a little). Why should developers not pay fees which cover the actual costs of planning?
  • Posted by graemepatrick March 01, 2018 at 15:41

    When you start to use terms such as "false news" davesutto you are already in trouble with your argument.

    There is little or no evidence about what it costs to run a planning service or indeed what actual level of fee would be required to consider a planning application. Of course we can calculate what a Council spends on its planning service, but not whether it is good value for money or being run efficiently. Does a £202 planning fee really cover the planning costs involved in determining an application for an extension where an officer would be involved in a site visit then preparation of a report of handling. Would a £404 planning fee cover the costs involved in considering an application for a new dwelling where an officer would be required to consider consultation responses from SEPA, Scottish Water, Transport, Education, Landscape then visit the site and finally prepare a report.

    Does it really cost a planning authority over £60,000 to consider a planning application for 250 houses?

  • Posted by davesutto March 02, 2018 at 15:31

    It is very misleading to measure LPA performance simply by the “no of applications determined”. To suggest this indicates “performance” is false.

    In my experience schemes that have been properly thought through, have a good quality - and qualified - designer - tend to both get thru the system faster and with a higher likliehood of approval. But as any unqualified person can submit a planning application - those that are simply “poor” - struggle - even where the principle of development is acceptable. That is why I would suggest that all schemes (over say 3 or 5 housing units) should legally be required to be submitted by a qualified planner or architect. Yes - this won’t rule out all poor quality schemes. But it would remove a lot of the poor quality applications and speed things up.

    Mr Patrick poses extremes of a single house (of course it takes more than £404) vs 250 houses (where £60k = £240/ House).
    But where we now see apps for 400 or more houses being proposed for flood risk, former mining, sites w habitat issues - all with NO EIA (only a useless Scoping Report) - what will Mr Patrick tell those who have been flooded (each year over past 6 years) or had their house value decimated by the corner cutting?
    The “150 cases determined per qualified planning Officer per annum” remains the best measure of sustainable Development Management. how you fund the costs of this, or whether it should cover 100%, can be discussed.
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