Research shows inspectorate casework standards dropping

The Planning Inspectorate has continued to meet ministerial targets over the past two years, but evidence suggests that standards of casework have declined.

The Advisory Panel on Standards (APOS) reports that the inspectorate reached its target of 99 per cent of casework being free from justified complaint for the past two years.

However, in 2006-07 this figure was only just met. Seven more complaints would have led to the target being missed.

APOS recommends that the inspectorate provides guidance in areas where most complaints are received. These include dealing with all main issues in an appeal, even if one particular ground is decisive, the application of green belt policy and unauthorised entry of unoccupied property in the vicinity of an appeal site.

Overall, satisfaction levels for 2006-07 are 65 per cent, according to the inspectorate's customer survey, two per cent down on the previous year. But APOS questioned what level should be expected from the service, because it cannot be compared with other agencies.

The Thirteenth Report from the Advisory Panel on Standards for the Planning Inspectorate is available at

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