ENews Issue - 19 December 2014

ENews - December 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:

  • Season's Greetings
  • Hough on the Hill Neighbourhood Plan submitted for examination
  • 2015 Training Workshop Programmes almost ready!
  • Christmas and New Year holidays
  • Latest vacancies on TRA's Planning Jobs Board
  • Getting the best from your Support Staff
  • Focused training for Councillors on specific aspects of planning




Season's Greetings

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Hough on the Hill Neighbourhood Plan submitted for examination

The latest neighbourhood plan submitted to TRA for examination is the Hough on the Hill Parish Neighbourhood Plan. The plan was submitted by South Kesteven District Council at the beginning of December and has been allocated to TRA Associate Colin Blundel for examination. Colin is also undertaking the examination of another plan in the same district (Stubton).

The Neighbourhood Plan Examination service from TRA offers a competitive pricing structure and the excellent administrative backup and customer service for which TRA is well known. If you would like to know more about the service please visit the Neighbourhood Plan Examination page of our website. If you are interested in receiving a quotation or have any additional questions you can contact Penny O'Shea on 01204 385678 or penny@tra-ltd.co.uk without obligation.

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2015 Training Workshop Programmes almost ready!

The TRA Programmes of Professional Workshops are currently being finalised and will be posted on the website and circulated to our mailing contacts very soon.

If you would like to sign up to receive details you can subscribe to our mailing list here.

As always, the programmes feature many of our previously popular events, plus a selection of new topics being developed for 2015 which will include:

Scotland programme

  • Understanding and Defining Development
  • The Basics of Enforcement
  • Conditions and Section 75 Obligations
  • Urban Design

England/Wales programme

  • An Introduction to Appeals
  • Conditions (looking at writing, discharging and enforcement)

Our block booking system will remain in place for 2015 offering discounts of up to 15% for bookings of 2 or more places made at the same time - an excellent opportunity to sort out all your training needs for 2015 in one go and stretch the training budget that little bit further!

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Christmas and New Year holidays

The TRA office will close at 5pm on Tuesday 23 December and re-open at 9am on Monday 5 January.

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Latest vacancies on TRA's Planning Jobs Board

The response to our new Planning Jobs Board has been really encouraging with an average of 12 new vacancies being added each week. Vacancies so far have covered roles in development management, enforcement, planning policy, conservation and design, and planning support.

It is entirely free for authorities to advertise their vacancies and free to search for those looking for a new opportunity. We decided to set up the Jobs Board as an additional service for our public sector clients and as a way of encouraging more people to visit our website.

New vacancies are being added all the time but here's a taster of current vacancies (with closing dates in January):

  • Planning Applications Group Leader - Southampton City Council
  • Planning Officer - Rugby Borough Council
  • Planning Officer - Maidstone Borough Council
  • Planning Assistant - Southampton City Council
  • Senior Planning & Conservation Officer - Three Rivers DC
  • Planning and Conservation Officer - Three Rivers DC
  • Clerical Assistant (Planning Support) - Bracknell Forest Council
  • Senior Planning Support Officer - Mole Valley District Council
  • Planning Assistant (Development Management) - Lancaster City Council

So if you are looking for a new challenge, visit TRA's Planning Jobs Board regularly - it could change your life!

If, on the other hand, you would like to advertise a vacancy on our Jobs Board you can download our 1-page pdf which provides more information. Alternatively, you can simply send your text and the authority's logo (if you would like this to be included) to penny@tra-ltd.co.uk. The Jobs Board is fully managed by TRA's staff in Bolton to ensure that the whole process of advertising is as quick and hassle-free as possible.

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Getting the best from your Support Staff

TRA knows that Administrative and Support Staff play a vital role in the delivery of the planning service and to be fully effective they need to be properly trained. Training budgets may be tight, but neglecting training often proves to be short-sighted. It is precisely in times like these when you really need your key resources - i.e. your staff - to be working both effectively and efficiently. TRA has specialised in providing training tailored to the needs of this key staff group for many years.

Organising a workshop on an in-house basis represents a unique opportunity to have training which matches the requirements of the staff and the authority, delivered in a way which is both cost effective and convenient.

Some recent workshops for support staff were delivered by TRA Senior Presenter, Vivien Green, at Woking, South Derbyshire and South Oxfordshire and participant feedback from all of the sessions was very positive:

Woking - Effective Validation

  • It gave an overall insight of why/what is required to validate applications. The presenter was extremely thorough and explained things very well. She has given me the confidence to start validating. All of the slides shown were very informative. Christine Duplock
  • Very good, very clear, easy to understand and digest. Frances Dalquen
  • The presenter effectively tailored the course specifically to our requirements to train Business Support Staff on Validation to assist with our program of moving this function from case officers. Dan Freeland.

South Derbyshire - The Basics of Planning

  • Gave a good basic knowledge of the planning system in user friendly language that I could understand! (I am not a planner!) Vicky Smyth
  • The session had a lot more content that I expected. The history was really interesting. The presenter was very thorough and knowledgeable. It gave me a good overview and some understanding of the planning system. Thank you! Sharon Dixon
  • The workshop covered the planning process from start to finish including the history of planning. It was very useful to me. Lorraine Brewster.

South Oxfordshire - Permitted Development

  • The training workshop more than met my expectations - thank you! Tim Small
  • The session was very helpful in setting out the basics of Permitted Development and it was great to get answers that were clear and concise. Hannah Kruger.

A full list of the in-house workshops on offer for Support Staff can be viewed on our website, which also includes some feedback from previous participants. Please note that we are happy to consider designing bespoke sessions, or tailoring existing sessions to meet the needs of an individual client, so if you have any specific requirements please let us know.

If you do not have enough staff to make in-house training financially viable, you may want to consider joint in-house training, with staff from neighbouring authorities. Many of our clients now deliver training in this way, not only to maximise cost effectiveness but many find that their staff benefit immensely from being in an environment where they can share local knowledge and experience with staff from neighbouring authorities.

If you are interested in receiving a detailed no-obligation quotation for any of our support staff sessions, please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes.

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Focused training for Councillors on specific aspects of planning

Trevor Roberts Associates (TRA) is the UK's leading provider of practitioner-presented training for Councillors involved in planning and has trained Councillors in almost 240 local authorities throughout England, Scotland and Wales.



Even if this kind of training has traditionally been delivered by your own officers, it is certainly worth considering an "external" training session provided by TRA. These sessions are delivered by our experienced team of presenters, all of whom are planning practitioners, as opposed to academics.



Where Councillors have already undertaken basic training, we are able to conduct more detailed sessions on specific aspects of planning. These are mainly half-day "modules" with a single presenter. Topics include specialist aspects of planning and updates on policy, procedure and good practice. Some of the topics we currently offer include:

  • avoiding cost awards at appeal (NEW)
  • planning enforcement
  • good practice for DM/planning committees (NEW)
  • a briefing on Neighbourhood Planning
  • trees and the planning process (NEW)

This is a small selection of the sessions that we can run exclusively on an in-house basis; a full list can be found on our website. If required we are also happy to consider designing bespoke sessions, or tailoring an existing programme to suit an individual client's needs - please do not hesitate to ask if you have any specific requirements.

If you would like to see more information on any of our in-house training workshops for Members, including an outline programme, then please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes for a no-obligation quotation. Please note that the prices we quote are "all in" and therefore include all of our fees, presenters expenses and pre-course/course documentation, this means that there are no hidden extras and our clients are aware what they can expect to pay at the invoicing stage from the outset.

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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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