Could your planning reports to Committee be improved?

TRA was recently commissioned to deliver a one-day workshop at Darlington Borough Council on Report Writing. Our interactive course, ‘Writing Effective Reports: making the best use of your case and your time’, offers clear guidance on how committee reports can be improved and provides an opportunity for debate about good practice, drawing on the presenter's long experience both of local government planning and the work of the Planning Inspectorate.

The main objectives of the session are to: 

  • provide a refresher on “material considerations” and an opportunity to discuss any grey areas (whether for officers, elected members or the wider public)
  • offer guidance on what Councillors need from officers (and maybe what they don’t)
  • give advice on what to include in reports and what can safely be left out (and why)
  • show how a good report (whether for Committee or delegated) can greatly simplify the handling of straightforward appeals
  • give an insight into what Inspectors are looking for, and the way they currently approach  “written reps” cases, and
  • take a brief look at some simple appeal decisions.

In advance of the training session, the authority provided a selection of reports for the Presenter to review; he was then able to provide feedback to officers on the day.

The workshop was prepared and delivered by TRA Presenter, David Kaiserman, and attendee feedback was excellent:

  • I am new to report writing; the course material and guidance has improved my confidence and knowledge. Patricia Baston
  • The workshop was very helpful in reassessing how we develop and write our reports. The Presenter raised many issues and confirmed matters that we have wanted to implement but have not been able to for a number of reasons. This will give us the opportunity to raise these matters again.  Andrew Harker
  • It has given us the confidence to give serious consideration to reviewing how we approach our reports to ensure that they are concise and to the point without being open to challenge.  Lisa Hutchinson.

If you think your authority might benefit from an in-house training session on improving report writing, then please contact Angela Holmes for a no-obligation quotation.  The prices we quote are ‘all-inclusive’ and therefore include all of our fees, presenters expenses and pre-course/course material, so there are no hidden extras and clients are aware of what they can expect to pay from the outset.