Your Councillors

MBC acceptance or rejection of IESE Planning Review Recommendations – Nov 2017

 

 

Line of Enquiry

MBC interpretation and commentary

Implement Yes / No

Timescale

Comment

 

Demand Analysis

 

 

 

 

 

Review and revise the current method of internal demand collation to capture the “whole conversation” to provide a more comprehensive understanding of value and failure.

Gain a shared understanding of where there are waste activities in the planning system, in terms of activities that span both Mid Ken Planning Support and MBC Planning Service.

 

Yes

March 18 with a subsequent review in Sep 18

 

Capture the Service’s capability of response to customer requests and understand the impact on customers.

 

 

Yes

Feb 18

 

Undertake demand collation on a short-term basis in response to identified issues or as part of a service/part service review rather than on-going, revisiting as necessary. Use the findings to drive improvements to customer service and deliver efficiencies.

 

Over 100 ideas need to be embedded as part of Planning Service Improvement Plan. Demand analysis data to be collected temporarily from Jan to review ideas to be embedded.

Yes

Ongoing

 

 

Process Mapping and Activity Analysis

 

 

 

 

 

Review and redesign processes to eliminate waste and increase capacity.

 

The action of reviewing is complete, but the implementation of the changes will take longer.

Yes

Ongoing

 

Ensure that the website redesign meets the needs of the customer and is easily accessible and intuitive, allowing customers to find information easily and perform most tasks online

 

 

Yes

Feb 18

 

Ensure that existing and future IT systems and projects are aligned to customer and staff needs to maximise efficiencies and reduce duplication, with a focus on paperless and digitalisation as part of any improvements or redesign

 

Not an acceptance though of paperless Planning for Parishes. The recommendation is applicable to all users.

Yes

Ongoing

 

Design or procure a new database for Planning Policy that meets the reporting needs of the team and is straightforward and intuitive

 

Make refinements to the existing database.  Procurement will take at least 3-6 months, design longer.  Process reviews of Planning process need to be identified before IT changes take place and then these will take at least 3 months to build and test is uniform.

Yes

Ongoing

 

Review and replace the current Objective consultation system with a simpler, more cost-effective package

 

 

No

N/A

 

 

Stakeholders and Customers

 

 

 

 

 

Establish relevant engagement and communication strategy with clarity around roles and responsibilities

 

 

Yes

Complete

 

Seek to outsource the drafting of S106 agreements to external solicitors

 

 

Yes

Complete

 

Progress CIL to examination and adoption to alleviate S106 pressures

 

 

Yes

Ongoing

 

Develop a more flexible approach within the Planning Support Service that does not require processes across both authorities to be aligned to take on a wider range of support and administrative tasks currently being undertaken within Planning i.e. Pre-application recording and validating

 

Tailor the MKPS service to the needs of Maidstone, rather than a one size fits all approach (suitable for both Swale & Maidstone).  Identified as part of PSIP work.  New technical team and discussions around MKPS taking on pre-apps, appeals etc. work.  Timescales; February 18 to fully implement.

Yes

Feb 18

 

In association with KALC co-design and implement a programme of regular Parish forums to further improve Parish understanding of the planning process and enable parishes to highlight specific issues and problems for discussion

 

This already existing in the form of the Parish Service Scheme.

N/A

N/A

 

Review the pre-application service to ensure that it is offering a consistent service and meeting customer needs, and that relevant internal stakeholders are engaged in the process at the at the appropriate point

 

This will include re-evaluating the fees to ensure that the service is not loss making.

Yes

March 18

 

Introduce Planning Performance Agreements (PPAs) to provide certainty of timescales and clarity around requirements for applications, improving the service to the customer and the efficiency of the planning services in dealing with pre-application and application. The Council should seek to have PPAs in place for all larger and strategically significant sites

 

 

Yes

Ongoing

 

As part of the review of planning processes ensure that the application process considers the use of extensions of time and how and when these are appropriate moving away from their habitual use

 

Addressing the backlog, will reduce the need to rely on EOT.  However this will not become apparent until backlog is fully addressed which is March 18.

Monitoring site visit dates to ensure these are conducted by week 3 and stricter guidance around acceptance of amendments will also help to drive a reduction in EOTs.

Yes

Dec 17

 

Ensure Developers Forums are targeted according to the audience, explore the possibility of separate Agents Forums as there are some clear differences in the way both groups interact with the Planning Services, use the forums to consult and engage on bigger strategic issues such as the Local Plan and land supply

 

 

Yes

Ongoing

 

 

Staff and Managers

 

 

 

 

 

Case allocation should take into account the full workload of the individual and the hours worked and should be undertaken by one role with a deputy to ensure consistency and fairness

 

 

Yes

March 18

 

Specialist support should be brought in to progress the outstanding Gypsy and Traveller cases to determination in a managed approach over an agreed timescale – either through outsourcing or use of a temporary agency planner

It was noted that this is best done through one or two focussed interim officers, given the need for specialist local knowledge and the “read across” required between various applications. This backlog is now much reduced.

Yes

March 18

 

The current backlog of cases from 2015 and 2016 should be reviewed and a temporary agency planner brought in to progress these to determination in a specific time period if deemed appropriate. It is vital that the agency planner concentrates on removing the backlog and is not allocated new cases .

 

 

 

The backlog of planning applications has been reduced by more than 50% in the past six months.

Yes

Ongoing

 

 

Measures and Finance

 

 

 

 

 

Develop and establish a set of measures that pass the test of a good measure

 

Introduce a simple suite of KPI’s for the service, to provide more detailed information around processing speeds and backlog.

Yes

Jan 18

 

Develop and establish a Business Enabling Hub to support commercial activity

 

As some staffing natural wastage has occurred, a new Technical team has now been established, so as to make use of Technical Officers to process some high volume application types, as well as undertaking support tasks for Planning Officers, to include the administration of Planning Performance Agreements and the discharge of some conditions. On this basis, some of the ideas around the Business Enabling Hub have been adopted. I.e. in the first instance the Planning team didn’t favour this approach, but ultimately decided to adopt some of the ideas.

Yes

Feb 18

 

Review the Pre-application offer and charges to ensure meets customer needs and covers all the Council’s costs

 

 

 

 

Yes

March 18

 

Introduce Planning Performance Agreements for strategically significant sites identified in the Local Plan, ensuring that the charging structure reflects the complex nature of the advice and fully covers the Council’s costs

 

 

 

Yes

Ongoing

 

Undertake a fully costed options appraisal when procuring services to ensure that the most effective option can be selected to provide the desired level of service.

 

This is all done as a matter of course, in accordance with the MBC financial regulations / standing orders.

N/A

Ongoing

 

For external service procurement ensure that a clear specification is drawn up for the work required that sets out deliverables, outcomes, outputs and timescales

 

This is all done as a matter of course, in accordance with the MBC financial regulations / standing orders.

N/A

Ongoing

 

 

Culture and Behaviours

 

 

 

 

 

Revalidate relevance of current behaviour framework and ensure behaviours are used to manage performance and recruitment. Explore opportunities for a Mentoring programme and a Culture & Leadership programme

 

Reinforce the STRIVE culture & behaviours amongst all Planning staff.

Yes

March 18