Online model offers council benchmark

An online facility offering a benchmark against which local planning authorities can measure themselves will be launched by the Planning Advisory Service (PAS).

The program will allow local authorities to test their strengths and weaknesses against the planning service benchmark developed through the PAS peer review system. This has delivered 30 reviews so far.

Users answer questions based on the benchmark under four categories - governance, users, outcomes and processes. The system also asks authorities to input their progress in producing development plans.

Results can be compared with those of other authorities completing the scheme to offer a wider assessment. PAS principal consultant Stephen Barker said authorities can use the system to prompt dialogue and share best practice.

Kirklees Council assistant head of service Andy Rushby, who took part in the pilot scheme, said the system is comprehensive and the local development framework section could be expanded.

London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames head of policy and design Philip Wealthy, who was also involved in the pilot scheme, added that the system offers a quick review of strengths and weaknesses.

PAS will assess the system as feedback from users is gathered and the benchmark will be reviewed annually, Barker said.

The tool will be available on the PAS website from Monday at www.pas.gov.uk.


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