ENews Issue - 30 April 2015

ENews - April 2015

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:

  • Need to get up to speed on recent changes to PD and DM procedures?
  • Latest vacancies on Planning Jobs Board
  • Workshops on Enforcement and Customer Care in Edinburgh
  • Post election training for Councillors: A final reminder before Election Day!
  • Don't forget to book for our Support Staff conference
  • Tailored training solutions for Support Staff




Need to get up to speed on recent changes to PD and DM procedures?

If you work in planning support you will hopefully be aware that the government introduced changes earlier this month to Permitted Development and Development Management procedures. But do you know what you need to do about them?

The new Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 came into effect on 15 April. It consolidates the regulations concerning Permitted Development in England and introduces a number of policy changes.

A new consolidated Development Management Procedure Order (DMPO) also came into effect on 15 April. Although the new order doesn't introduce any major changes it does bring in some minor amendments and re-arrangement/re-numbering of Articles and Schedules which LPAs should be acting on.

TRA's forthcoming workshops on Effective Validation (Manchester, 20 May) and Supporting the Processing of Planning Applications (London, 16 June) have been updated to take account of these changes, particularly with regard to the increased number of Prior Notification categories of development, and will provide an opportunity to get up to speed. There are places available on both workshops but the June event is almost fully booked. Full details of both workshops can be found via the above links.

Our workshop on Permitted Development is not running until October (in Manchester) but in the interim we can provide in-house training for individual authorities - or groups of authorities - to help staff get to grips with PD and the recent changes and what action they need to take. If this idea is of interest please contact Angela Holmes for further details.

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Latest vacancies on Planning Jobs Board

Here are some of the current vacancies on our Planning Jobs Board (with closing dates in May):

  • Planning Manager (Development Management) - Orkney Islands
  • Principal Planning Policy Officer x 2 - South and Vale DC
  • Principal Planning Officer/Senior Planning Officer - Eastleigh BC
  • Senior Planning Policy Officer - South and Vale DC
  • Senior Planning Officer (Major Applications & Business Team) - Chichester DC
  • Temporary Senior Planning Officer - Ribble Valley BC
  • Area Planning Officer (DM) - Mid Devon DC
  • Planning Officer (Applications Team) - Chichester DC
  • Major Applications Officer - South and Vale DC
  • Planning Officer (DM) - Mid Devon DC
  • Graduate Planner (Planning Policy) - Oadby & Wigston BC
  • Graduate Planning Officer - Ashfield DC
  • Conservation Officer (part-time) - Epsom & Ewell BC
  • Planning Assistant (Graduate) - Tunbridge Wells BC
  • Planning Assistant (DM) - Mid Devon DC
  • Planning Assistant - Norwich City Council
  • Forward Planning Assistant - Mid Devon DC
  • Programme Officer - Mid Devon DC
  • Compliance and Enforcement Officer - Ashfield DC
  • Enforcement Officers (full time & part time) - Mid Devon DC

Advertising on our Jobs Board is entirely free to local authorities handling their own recruitment (unfortunately we can't offer it to recruitment agencies). We are keen to include planning roles of all types including those in planning support and planning enforcement. If you would like to advertise a vacancy 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 jobsboard@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.

It is also free to search for those looking for a new opportunity. So if you are in the market for a new challenge, visit TRA's Planning Jobs Board regularly - it could change your life! And please - if you do apply for one of these vacancies we'd be really grateful if you could mention that you saw it on the TRA Planning Jobs Board.

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Workshops on Enforcement and Customer Care in Edinburgh

The next two workshops in our 2015 Scotland programme will take place in Edinburgh on 9 June and places are still available.

The Basics of Planning Enforcement (Brand new for 2015)

The credibility of the planning system is increasingly reliant on effective enforcement of planning control. This workshop is aimed at planning staff who are either directly involved in enforcement work or who wish to have a contextual understanding of the system, as well as relatively new or less experienced enforcement staff. Specific aspects covered include: what can be enforced - the definition of development and what constitutes unauthorised development; the immunity rules; how to deal with complaints; evidence collection; the effective use of the enforcement toolkit; and practical steps to make enforcement more efficient and effective.

Managing the Planning Customer's Experience

In an increasingly demanding world - where users expect excellent service at minimum cost - the provision of a quality, customer-oriented planning service can go a long way towards achieving the quality outcomes local authorities are striving for. This one-day interactive workshop provides planners and technical/support staff with an understanding of why customer care matters now more than ever and how to deliver good customer service at little or no extra cost in terms of time or money. It explores what good customer care actually means and why it matters, the importance of listening skills and communicating clearly, handling complaints and understanding and preventing conflict, and concludes with action points for achieving positive outcomes. There are many courses on customer care but the benefit of this one is that it is designed and delivered by a planner who understands the competing demands within local government planning and the sorts of issues par ticipants will be facing on a daily basis.

Further information and booking forms can be found on the website via the above links to each event. If you are unable to make a firm booking straight away, provisional bookings are recommended to reserve your place and can be made by telephone on 01204 385678 or via our online provisional bookings facility.

Bookings of 2 or more places made at the same time over any number of events will attract discounts of between 10 and 15% under our discounted block booking scheme (depending on the total number of places booked). Details are on the website.

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Post election training for Councillors: A final reminder before Election Day!

For many authorities local Council elections are literally just around the corner. We would like to remind those of you who are considering providing planning training in the coming months about the importance of booking dates as soon as possible; this will ensure that your Councillors don't miss out on one of our extremely popular in-house training sessions.

We can respond to various training requirements, providing individual bespoke sessions as appropriate, but particularly popular in the post-election period are our one-day sessions:

  1. A Briefing on Planning for Councillors (two presenters) - covering planning procedures and policies, and focusing especially on Development Management
  2. The Role of Councillors in Planning: propriety and good practice (two presenters) - covering issues such as conflicts and declarations of interest, material considerations, lobbying, and making the decision
  3. A Planning workshop for Councillors - NEW (one presenter) - this is a new session combining elements from both of the above workshops to give a broad overview of planning and a Councillor's role.

If the time commitment for Councillors is a major consideration we can also offer shorter sessions (3 hours) with flexible timings during a morning, afternoon or evening. These sessions are essentially shortened versions of the above Briefing on Planning and Role of Councillors one-day workshops and are delivered by one presenter.

Please note that during workshops 1 & 2 (above) pre-prepared case studies/exercises are used throughout the day to help highlight key points and help to give the training a stronger impact. Due to the way in which session 3 runs and the time constraints of the shorter workshops the opportunity for practical exercises is greatly reduced and so a case study cannot be used.

Below you can see some participant feedback from previous Councillor in-house workshops:

  • As a new Councillor I thought this was an excellent introduction to the Role of Councillors in Planning. It addressed not only issues and good practice associated with the Councillor's role but by necessity addressing and commenting on key aspects of the planning system. Commentary on changes introduced by the new Localism legislation was particularly welcome. Cllr Gregory Harlock, Huntingdonshire District Council
  • The whole thing was professionally delivered as usual - the right balance of humour and realism. Still brings home the fact that no matter how often I preach, information delivered by external trainers delivers the 'light bulb' moment. Fiona Edwards, Development Planning Manager, Cheshire West and Chester Council
  • Exceeded expectations, mostly due to the knowledge of the presenters and the methods used which made the delegates work together effectively. Cllr Stephen Haroldsen, Copeland Borough Council
  • More than met my expectations and should be made compulsory for all Councillors. All Councillors would benefit from this training - it would help them understand the reasons behind decisions. Cllr Angela Glass. East Hampshire District Council.

The Training for Councillors section of our website provides some further information and answers the most frequently asked questions. We generally ask for around 4-6 weeks notice to arrange Councillor training but will aim to accommodate clients wherever possible thanks to our large team of experienced presenters. Please note that many authorities have already avoided the rush and booked their training days so May is now fully booked - however, we should still be able to accommodate dates in June and July at this stage. Don't leave it until the last minute, contact us today to secure your training date!

To see an outline programme without obligation, or to arrange a booking please contact Angela Holmes.

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Don't forget to book for our Support Staff conference

Just a quick reminder that our latest Conference for Planning Support Staff is just 8 weeks away. If you would like to attend we recommend that you book your place soon.

The Conference will take place at The Wesley in London on 25 June and represents a valuable opportunity to meet with colleagues from other authorities and learn about current best practice and future developments affecting planning support.

As always, the event involves a mixture of general presentations and smaller group sessions in which participants can discuss topics in more detail. The contributors and topics under discussion will be:

VIVIEN GREEN, Planning Consultant and TRA Senior Associate - 10 things you should be doing but probably aren't....

NICOLA HAMILTON, Enforcement Team Leader at St Helens Council - Handling difficult customers - lessons learned from enforcement

KARL ROBERTS, Assistant Director of Planning Services at Arun District Council - How localism may affect support staff

CHRIS WEETMAN, independent planning consultant and TRA Associate - Delivering services in times of austerity

Once again the conference is being run in conjunction with the Planning Admin Network (PAN), a free online network open to anyone with an interest in the administration of the planning service in England, Wales and Scotland. Membership of PAN is absolutely FREE and registration is quick and easy via the PAN website.

A discounted price for the conference is available to PAN members of £175.00 (only available to those who joined on or before 20 March 2015). Further discounts are available to all via our block booking scheme which offers between 10 and 15% discount for bookings of 2 or more places made at the same time over any number of events in the 2015 programme.

Further details for the conference and a booking form are available on the TRA website. If you are unable to make a firm booking straight away, provisional bookings are recommended and can be made by telephoning 01204 385678 or via the online provisional booking facility.

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Tailored training solutions for Support Staff

TRA appreciates that administrative support staff play a vital role in the delivery of the planning service and to be fully effective they need to be properly trained. TRA has specialised in providing in-house training tailored to the needs of this key staff group for many years; some previous participant feedback is available on our website.

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 cost effective and convenient - an important consideration when training budgets are stretched, as is currently the case in many authorities.

Some examples of the workshops available are:

  • The Basics of Planning
  • Permitted Development
  • The Essential Elements of Support for Planning and Listed Building Control
  • Supporting the Processing of Planning Applications: a workshop for experienced technical and administrative staff
  • An Introduction to the Key Elements of Planning Enforcement
  • Workshops on Validation.

More details, including a full list of the workshops on offer is available on our website.

Please note that we are also happy to consider designing bespoke sessions, or tailoring existing sessions to a client's individual needs. One recent example of the latter is the London Borough of Bromley Council who ran Effective Validation. The training was tailored to take into account their specific Validation processes and the main aim was to assist them in developing ideas for improvement, especially with regards to Fees. It proved to be a particularly useful day as participant comments show:

  • The training was very informative, I've learned quite a lot and now have a better understanding of fees.
  • Gave a lot more clarity on fees and what to check for when validating.
  • The presenter was very informative and interesting.
  • Very detailed and a good starting point.

If you are interested in a particular workshop and would like to tailor it to your specific requirements, then please do not hesitate to ask. Alternatively if you would like any further information on our range of standard training sessions for support staff, including an outline programme, then please feel free to contact Angela Holmes for a no-commitment quotation.

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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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