The Local Government Association - which runs PAS - recently received a letter from planning minister Brandon Lewis indicating that PAS’s grant this year from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will be reduced by 50 per cent, equivalent to a reduction from £2 million to £1 million.
Planning understands that the department is unable to fund PAS at the same level as previously following a substantial reduction to its resource budget from 2016/17 onwards.
PAS programme manager Alice Lester told Planning that it was "understandable that in these straitened budgetary times that cuts have had to be made", adding that it was "fantastic" news that the government is continuing to fund a sector-led programme of support for local planning authorities.
Lester said PAS will focus on government priorities around recent changes to the planning system, including authorities at risk of intervention with plan making.
Lester added that the service will also develop a "commercial side", so that some of its support may now be charged for.
She said that PAS is also developing a "subscription offer" – likely tiered options for access to events and materials, and consultancy support. The team size will be slightly reduced, Lester added, but she declined to share further details.
A DCLG spokesman said: "PAS will continue to play a valuable role in helping councils deliver effective planning.
"We are still supporting the service with a £1 million grant, however, all parts of the public sector need to play their part in tackling the deficit and delivering greater value for money for the taxpayer."