RTPI Bulletin Board

DISCIPLINE WARNING ISSUED ON INSURANCE

The conduct and disciplinary panel has found that a member has breached clause nine of the code of professional conduct and has issued a warning to the member. Clause nine requires that "members shall be insured against claims for breach of professional duty as town planning in accordance with the regulations appended to the code".

The member had retired but had started to practice as a consultant town planner without taking out professional indemnity insurance. When notified of the panel's investigation, the member returned to corporate membership and purchased appropriate insurance cover. As a result the panel found that the member was in breach of the code but also noted the steps taken to rectify matters. The panel agreed that the member should be warned as to his future conduct without being named in this report.

- Contact: (e-mail) code-complaints@rtpi.org.uk.

ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING AND PROTECTION

Strategic environmental assessment (SEA) task group An SEA task group is being set up to look at quality control and the provision of training courses. The following issues are likely to be considered:

- Accreditation systems for SEA trainers or courses.

- Certification systems for SEA courses.

- Some recognition for organisations and individuals preparing good-quality environmental reports.

Much of the work is expected to be carried out by e-mail. If you are interested in participating, particularly if you work in the local government sector, please contact (e-mail) epp@rtpi.org.uk for further information.

PLANNING AND REGULATORY SERVICES ONLINE

Planning for tomorrow that inspires local authority planners today

The Planning and Regulatory Services Online (PARSOL) project, funded by the ODPM, has now delivered a set of e-planning products and tool kits that are helping local authorities implement online planning and achieve their obligations under the recent ODPM priority service outcomes.

The recent PARSOL seminar series has been a tremendous success with a huge turnout of local authority planners wanting to see how PARSOL will help them create a 21st century planning system in their area.

Torbay Council's Peter Bamber, who attended the PARSOL seminars, said: "PARSOL provided a vision for what is required in delivering the planning service in the future. I think we've got where we are by adopting not just your vision, but especially your can do attitude. We are saving so much time and money. We shall spread the word down here in the South West." With a series of pioneering products such as the "do I need planning permission" expert system, fast track agent certification scheme, online enforcement services and the national e-planning service delivery standards now live, PARSOL is ready to help all English local authorities move up the e-planning ladder. Take up of the products by local authorities is reflected in the number of PARSOL connectors already requested from major planning information technology suppliers.

Paul Kilner, director of the ODPM Planning Portal, encourages this take-up: "The potential offered to local planning authorities in developing and integrating the many innovative PARSOL products represents one of the most significant breakthroughs I have seen during my career as a town planner. The fully electronic "do I need planning permission" system represents the four-minute mile for the planning service in terms of a providing a 24-hour online, site specific, definitive yes or no service".

Richard Goodwin of the e-planning programme board concurred: "We are delighted with the success of the PARSOL deliverables. The PARSOL tools, tool kits and service standards underpin progress as they provide the what and the how to enable planning services." The RTPI is directly represented on the PARSOL board. Look out for more PARSOL workshops in early 2005.

You can see what PARSOL can do for you at www.parsol.gov.uk or e-mail info@parsol.gov.uk for more information.

ASSOCIATION OF ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

Tony Russell, chairman of the enforcement working group tasked by the RTPI to produce a business plan for a planning enforcement association, says: "Earlier this year I was pleased to announce proposals to launch a national association for planning enforcement officers (Planning, 4 June, p23). Since this article was published the working group tasked with the project has continued to work with the RTPI on the proposal for a national association and has drafted some initial aims and objectives.

- We started by thinking what are our aspirations are and what do we want such an association to achieve. This provided a framework for our ideas, which were eventually fine-tuned into what we believe to be substantial and sound aims and objectives for the future.

We agreed that the aim of the association should be to enhance and promote the role of planning enforcement in the planning service. It is our recommendation that the association would carry out the following:

- Promote the professional recognition of enforcement.

- Provide a national voice for enforcement in the planning profession.

- Support existing enforcement groups and encourage new regional enforcement groups.

- Identify, promote and encourage quality training for all those who join the association.

- Encourage all planning enforcement officers to become members of the association.

- Encourage members to achieve professional qualifications.

After many lengthy debates we have also come up with a proposed title for the association: the National Association of Planning Enforcement Officers. Simple, direct and self explanatory.

Members of the steering group are:

- Tony Russell, chairman - Exmoor National Park enforcement officer, 14 years experience.

- Sandy Kinnersley, Tech RTPI, vice-chairman - Huntingdon District Council planning enforcement team leader, 15 years experience.

- Mike Cowley - Sandwell District Council enforcement officer, three years experience in planning, seven years in other areas of law enforcement and an ex-police officer.

- Zoe Fuller - Newark and Sherwood District Council enforcement officer, nearly three years experience.

- Bob Moon - Hertfordshire County Council enforcement officer, nine years experience, ex-Metropolitan Police officer.

- Ray Steer-Kemp - East Devon District Council enforcement officer, ten years experience, ex-chief inspector with Devon and Cornwall Constabulary.

- Sue Taylor, Tech RTPI - Sheffield City Council enforcement officer, 18 years experience. Also an ex-police officer and civil servant.

The steering group is also supported by Chris Sheridan, planners in the workplace officer at the RTPI in London. RTPI president Mike Hayes and myself have written to the heads of planning services in all district and unitary authorities throughout England and Wales to advise them of the proposal and that their enforcement team will shortly be receiving a consultation questionnaire.

I have also written to enforcement team leaders with a copy of the questionnaire, inviting them to copy and circulate it to their teams. This stage of the process is probably the most important as we need to know what enforcement colleagues think.

The steering group is tasked to produce a business plan to the RTPI.

The crucial message at the moment is please complete and return those questionnaires to us - we need to hear from all of you." - If you wish to get in touch with the steering group, please contact the chairman Tony Russell (tel) 01398 322260 (e-mail) asrussell@exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk.

COMPETITION

Please note the Humour@RTPI competition has now closed. The RTPI will make an announcement shortly.


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