Review takes flak from all quarters

The government's review of skills for delivering sustainable communities is losing its focus and "going nowhere", according to a cross-section of built environment organisations.

At the end of the month-long consultation on key issues identified by the review team, headed by Sir John Egan, numerous bodies have expressed concerns about how the team is taking on broader issues than its original brief, which was to identify ways of rectifying the immediate shortage of planners and other built environment professionals.

The review team, which held its final meeting as Planning went to press this week, has been probing issues such as making the planning process more efficient, the role of local authorities and training for elected members, in addition to its initial task of tackling the planning profession's recruitment crisis.

Other concerns have been voiced at the review, including the speed with which it is carrying out its study and the brevity of its consultation period.

A draft response to the review by the Construction Industries Council (CIC) says that the review is "rushed, inappropriate and lacks robustness".

The issues require consensus building, "not clumsy interventionism", says the CIC, the pan-industry body for the built environment.

The concerns have been echoed elsewhere. Brian Berry, deputy director of public policy at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said that the review is being hampered by "muddled thinking". He added: "There is confusion about where it is all going and it needs to be focused and made applicable to putting things into practice."

RTPI policy director Kelvin Macdonald said: "The questions that the review poses display a lack of understanding of what is being done already and has been done in the past few years. It also displays a bias towards examining the professions rather than assessing how shortages in the profession can be tackled."

Graham Jones, junior vice-president of the Planning Officers Society, said: "There is a danger that the review team is missing the main point, which is about the role and status of planning as an activity and making it a much more positive force."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Join the conversation with PlanningResource on social media

Follow Us:
Planning Jobs