ENews Issue - 29 August 2014

ENews - August 2014

TRA ENews is the monthly newsletter of Trevor Roberts Associates. It provides information about TRA generally, its staff and Associates, current and forthcoming events, new training courses and consultancy services etc.

View our contact Information or subscription information.

In this issue:

  • Temporary office move (update)
  • TRA 2014 Workshop Programme resumes in Scotland
  • Certificated Enforcement course: note for students
  • Essential skills and techniques for dealing with appeals
  • Training for Town and Parish Councillors at a reduced price for a limited time
  • Develop your DM and Enforcement staff with in-house training




Temporary office move (update)

We mentioned in last months ENews that we would be temporarily relocating to another office shortly to enable our own offices to be refurbished. Unfortunately, the move has been delayed by a couple of weeks and we are now expecting to move on the 4th or 5th September. We will keep everyone up-to-date via our website.

We have appropriate plans in place and are hopeful that any disruption will be kept to a minimum but we just wanted to forewarn our contacts just in case.

All our contact details will remain the same - including our postal address and telephone number - so hopefully you won't be able to tell the difference!

However, if you do experience any problems or are concerned that your communication may not be getting through to us please do try to get in touch to check - telephone is likely to be the most reliable method.

We expect to be in our temporary office for 4-5 weeks.

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TRA 2014 Workshop Programme resumes in Scotland

Our Training Workshop Programme in Scotland is about to get underway again following the Summer break with three workshops running in Glasgow on 16 September. They are:

  • Negotiation Skills: the key to achieving planning goals and objectives
  • Advertisement Control
  • Harnessing the Potential of Support Staff: an essential step towards improved planning performance (NEW FOR 2014)

The last few places are still available on these workshops and details can be found on the TRA website via the above links, however prompt booking is recommended at this stage. If you would like to reserve a place provisonally please contact Shelagh Pooley on 01204 385678 or use our online provisional booking facility.

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Certificated Enforcement course: note for students

After 17 years, with more than 400 students taking part and 146 graduates having been awarded the certificate so far, TRA's Certificated Course in Planning Enforcement is still going strong and demand for places is as high as ever. Whilst this is really good news - especially for us! - it can make it difficult to ensure that students are able to attend the modules they want to, when they want to.

If you are already a student on this course you will have been in touch with Shelagh Pooley - who handles the course administration - at some stage. If you are interested in continuing with the programme, Shelagh would strongly recommend that you let her know which modules you would ideally like to attend. This won't commit you to any particular module but it will certainly help with her planning and make it more likely you'll get the place you want.

Shelagh can be contacted about bookings or any other information regarding the course as a whole by email or telephone on 01204 385678.

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Essential skills and techniques for dealing with appeals

TRA provides several training workshops to assist with some of the skills and techniques you might need if your work involves dealing with appeals. A number of these workshops are coming up over the next few months as part of our inter-authority programme:

  • Avoing Cost Awards at Appeal - London, 23 September
  • Being an Effective Witness at Inquiries - London, 21 October
  • Writing Effective Reports (NEW) - Edinburgh, 6 November

An award of costs against you is unwelcome at the best of times (and especially in these days of limited resources) but they can be avoided through good practice. Our workshop analyses each stage from receipt of an application through to appeal (by written reps, hearing or inquiry), including Committee decisions, and considers what measures can be put in place at each stage to minimise the risks of a successful costs claim again you. It also looks at the circumstances in which you should pursue an application for costs against the other party.

  • Really helpful. More so because of the small group so there was plenty of discussion. Use of case studies very helpful. Jennifer Rehman, Lancaster City Council
  • It was useful having a small group as we could draw on each others' experiences. Martha Savage, Flintshire County Council

Being an Effective Witness is aimed at planning (and other technical) officers who may be called as an expert witness at an Inquiry but who have little or no previous experience. It is intended to promote a good understanding of the preparation required; what should be included in a witness statement; and how to give evidence in chief and under cross-examination. The workshop will provide participants with a solid grounding to improve their confidence, and thereby effectiveness, when giving evidence.

  • Lots of useful information provided on both legislation and in relation to the run up, and the day of the inquiry. Georgina Pacey, Runnymede Borough Council
  • "The workshop was very helpful and informative" Andrea Muscroft, Craven District Council.

Writing Effective Reports is full of good practice advice and tips from a very experienced practitioner and will be of particular value to relatively new or less experienced planners who want to sharpen their report-writing skills - whether they are preparing Committee Reports, delegated reports or appeal statements. It encourages participants to think about who they are writing for and the purpose of the report and considers what to leave in and what to cut out. It includes an insight into what Reporters are looking for and the way they currently approach "written subs" cases.

  • Informative, good presentation style and context. Gave food for thought with good learning points. Thank you. Morag Ferguson, Western Isles Council
  • The content of the course and experience of David provided an invaluable/unique learning opportunity for planners. This course/lecture would be extremely useful as part of a university module/course. Greg Shaw, Northampton Borough Council

Further information on each of these workshops can be found via the above links.

If you are interested in attending but are unable to make a firm booking straight away, places can be reserved provisionally by telephoning 01204 385678 or via our online provisional booking facility.

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Training for Town and Parish Councillors at a reduced price for a limited time

Being the UK's leading provider of practitioner-presented training for Councillors involved in planning, TRA is able to provide in-house training specifically aimed at Town & Parish Councillors, which we are currently offering at a specially reduced price, for a limited time only.

Many of our District council clients have been keen to organise this kind of training for their Town/Parish Councils with most of them running several repeat sessions. Some feedback from these sessions can be viewed on our website.

The most popular option is our Briefing on Planning for Town and Parish Councils. Aimed at Councillors and Clerks, it is designed to enable participants to make a more effective contribution to the Development Management process. It is a general Planning overview and the main aims of the session are:

  • to familiarise participants with the overall framework of the planning system and where development management fits into this
  • to explain the basic components of the development management process and where Parish/Town Councils fit in
  • to explain some key concepts of the development management decision-making process, to enable Parish/Town Councils to relate to these effectively
  • generally to clarify the potential for, and the limitation of, Parish/Town Council input.

The workshop has been designed to run over a half-day with flexible timings in a morning, afternoon or evening. Concepts are applied to one or two case studies in order to reinforce key points, and the session is delivered by one of our experienced Councillor presenters.

If you are interested in finding out more about this training (at a reduced price!) then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes directly for a detailed quotation. Please note that sessions must be booked before the 10th October, 2014, although they can be delivered after that date. The prices we quote are inclusive of all of our fees, presenter's expenses and pre-course/course documentation. This means that there are no 'hidden extras' and our clients are aware from the outset what they can expect to pay at the invoicing stage.

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Develop your DM and Enforcement staff with in-house training

TRA has extensive experience of delivering in-house training for staff working in a planning role, with more than 220 authorities having taken advantage of this service.

Although we can provide training on a variety of planning topics for different staff groups, sessions looking at the processes involved in Development Management and Enforcement are especially popular.

Workshops we have delivered recently include:

  • South Oxfordshire District Council - Effective enforcement: becoming more proactive and helping to deliver development (a bespoke session)
  • East Hertfordshire Council - Effective validation: good practice for all application types
  • Colchester Borough Council - Planning Enforcement in practice: the core elements in detail
  • Sunderland City Council - Environmental Impact Assessment.

A full list of the workshops that we can provide with regards to Development Management and Enforcement can be viewed on our website.

In-house training provides a unique opportunity for local authorities to provide training matched to their requirements, run at or near their premises, in a systematic and cost-effective (and more environmentally friendly) way. Workshops can be organised for a single authority or for a group of neighbouring authorities joining together; joint sessions have proved particularly useful for smaller authorities or in areas where there is an established local "network". The latter is particularly useful if you do not have quite enough staff to make an in-house session viable.

Please note that in addition to tailoring our existing workshops, we are also happy to consider developing bespoke sessions to ensure that training meets with an individual client's needs; so if you have a particular requirement that you don't see on our website, please feel free to ask.

If you are interested in receiving more information, such as an outline programme for any of our sessions, then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes directly.

Please be reminded that the prices we quote are inclusive of all of our fees, presenter's expenses and pre-course/course documentation. This means that there are no 'hidden extras' and our clients are aware from the outset what they can expect to pay at the invoicing stage.

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Contact Information

Trevor Roberts Associates

1 Atlas House, St. Georges Square,

Bolton, BL1 2HB,

United Kingdom

Tel: (01204) 385678

Fax: (01204) 386376

Email: mail@tra-ltd.co.uk

Website: http://www.tra-ltd.co.uk/

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