Currently, local authorities can only be designated for poor performance in processing major developments. The types of development to be covered by section 153 will be specified in secondary legislation. However, a Department for Communities and Local Government technical consultation issued on 18 February suggested that this route should be limited to applications involving minor development and changes of use, not householder development. For householder cases, the government said it would require "a detailed improvement plan" for householder cases "where this relates to the reasons for their underperformance."
The definition of "very poor performance" also awaits secondary legislation. The technical consultation proposed that the performance thresholds should be set initially at between 60 and 70 per cent of decisions made on time and between ten and 20 per cent of decisions overturned pm appeal. The government has also said that the threshold for designations based on the quality of decisions on major developments should be reduced from 20 to ten per cent of decisions overturned at appeal.
Commencement: Section 153 comes into force on 12 July. However, given the parliamentary approval processes required for secondary legislation, the DCLG has said that the earliest the first designations might be made under this regime is the last quarter of 2016.
The DCLG technical consultation document is here https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/501239/Planning_consultation.pdf