ENews Issue - 02 March 2009

ENews - February 2009

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:

  • Enforcement/monitoring role for DC staff?
  • Book now for post-election Councillor training
  • He is retiring - honest!
  • Successful workshop on communication skills and working in partnership for Salford members
  • Sign-up for e-publicity and help us reduce our carbon footprint
  • Planning Obligations and Agreements training
  • Bursaries on offer for young planners
  • Scotland training programme - further details available
  • Conference/event organisation service




Enforcement/monitoring role for DC staff? - 28/02/09

The economic downturn and the fall in applications means that many authorities are looking for ways to redeploy staff. Developing Development Control staff in an enforcement/monitoring role could be an attractive option. It can provide skills and experience development opportunities for the staff involved and add much needed resources to support the crucial enforcement and/or monitoring functions.

TRA provides a number of training events which would be helpful to DC staff looking to build up their knowledge and understanding in these areas, including:

  • A Forum on Enforcement - Warrington, 24 March
  • The Basics of Planning Enforcement - Manchester, 30 June & Bristol, 17 November
  • Effective Monitoring of Planning Agreements - York, 19 May & London, 14 October

Bookings on any of these events can be made by downloading a booking form via the links above. Provisional bookings can be made by telephone or online using our provisional bookings facility.

We can also provide in-house training tailored to suit the needs of individual authorities or groups of authorities. For further information or a discussion of your requirements contact Penny O'Shea.

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Book now for post-election Councillor training - 28/02/09

If you work in an authority with elections coming up in June 2009 (Counties and some Unitaries), you may be considering organising some post-election training in the planning system for your Councillors. In-house Councillor training is one of TRA's most popular services for local authorities and has been for many years. We are the leading provider of practitioner-presented training for councillors involved in planning and have provided training for more than 180 local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales. A list of our clients can be found on our website, along with feedback from previous participants.

A number of Councils have already booked their training days with TRA during June and July but we do still have a reasonable amount of availability at this stage thanks to our large team of presenters. However, we would suggest that you get in touch ASAP if you are interested in arranging some training.

Our two most popular workshops, especially for new Councillors, are A Briefing on Planning for Councillors, which covers planning policy and procedures, principally in relation to development control and The Role of Councillors in Planning: propriety and good practice, which tackles tricky issues such as conflicts and declarations of interest, material considerations, lobbying, and decisions contrary to officer advice.

If your authority doesn't have elections this year or if you are looking for more focused training for Councillors with some experience, we also offer a range of Briefings on specific aspects of planning.

If you are in Scotland and considering training for your Councillors, details of the options available can also be found on our website.

For further details or to arrange a training session please contact Penny O'Shea.

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He is retiring - honest! - 27/02/09

Six months ago we announced that Trevor Roberts will be retiring at the end of June 2009, shortly after his 65th birthday. However, a lot of people have been quite sceptical about this and Trevor is keen to set the record straight.

"A lot of people don't believe me - they think I will still be doing some things, getting involved from time to time, maybe pulling strings behind the scenes. But they are wrong - I really am pulling out. There are certain formalities which I will have to attend to as a shareholder, Director and Chairman of the Board of TRA. But none of these involve an executive role. I will not be doing presentations, training events, consultancy work or business development. Penny O'Shea, our excellent staff team and our robust network of presenters and associates will carry on without me in exactly the same way as with me.

People ask me what I will spend my time doing? The answer is that I don't really know yet - but it will not be anything to do with TRA. I have masses of other interests and will have a chance to follow up on these and I will probably develop new ones. Until 30 June, I am still in harness, so you may well come across me on assignments or at some of our events before then. But not afterwards - I promise you!"

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Successful workshop on communication skills and working in partnership for Salford members - 26/02/09

TRA recently carried out a successful one-day workshop on improving communication skills and working with partners for members of Salford MBC's Planning Panel. The workshop was organised against the backdrop of Central Government's modernisation agenda, which promotes greater multi-disciplinary partnership working, and the increased pressures on members and officers alike to get their message across effectively. The bespoke workshop was designed and led by Senior Planning Consultant, Chris Weetman, and Senior Associate, Lee Prebble.

Aspects covered during the day included:

  • understanding delegates' own communication skills
  • developing their listening skills
  • barriers to successful communication
  • how to create inflluence through communication
  • how to communicate with partners from different organisations.

Feedback from the workshop was very positive:

"It encouraged members to reflect on their own skills and relate this to their role on the Panel." Cllr Derek Antrobus

"This training will help me a great deal especially on the planning panel as a newly elected member. Also for the meetings I attend and my one-to-one surgery." Cllr Lynn Drake

If you would like information on this or any of TRA's other training options for members involved in planning please contact Penny O'Shea for an informal discussion. Details of the main courses available can also be found on our website.

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Sign-up for e-publicity and help us reduce our carbon footprint - 13/02/09

About 18 months ago, TRA began the process of transferring its publicity circulation over to email instead of traditional postal mailshots. We've had an excellent response so far from our mailing contacts, many of whom have signed up for and are now receiving publicity by email. However, there are still a number of contacts on our postal mailshot list and we are very keen to switch them over to e-publicity.

Reducing the amount of publicity we send out by post is a key objective in our Environmental Management System. It also makes good economic sense and it means that you will receive our information direct to your inbox, rather than waiting for it to be circulated around the office.

If you are still receiving our mailshots by post, we would strongly urge you to sign-up for e-publicity now. The easiest way to do this is to complete our mailing list sign-up form. The sign-up form also gives you the opportunity to choose the broad topic areas you are interested in.

If you do not currently receive our publicity and would like to do so you can use the same form to sign-up. We won't bombard you with emails and we will not pass on your information to anyone else. Details of our privacy policy are on the sign-up form.

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Planning Obligations and Agreements training - 12/02/09

We recently announced a new package of training and consultancy services relating to obligations and agreements including inter-authority workshops, in-house training workshops, annual forums and procedural reviews amongst other things, the details of which are all available on our website.

The first of the inter-authority workshops An Introduction to Planning Ogligations and Agreements is due to take place shortly at our new London venue, the MIC Centre, on 23 April 2009.

The workshop is aimed at all practitioners who are involved in setting up or using Planning Agreements, now a common tool in planning, and aims to improve participants' knowledge; enable them to share experience; and help them develop confidence in when, where and how planning agreements and obligations can contribute to positive outcomes. Specific aspects to be covered during the workshop include: when an undertaking is appropriate; the role of the development plan, policies and shopping lists in achieving planning gain; the interface between s106 agreements and planning conditions; the use of obligations in enforcement and good practice advice.

Further details and a booking form can be found via the above link. Provisional bookings can be made to reserve places in the usual way - by telephone or via our online provisional booking facility.

Details can also be found on the website of two further workshops in the series due to run later this year:

  • Effective monitoring of planning agreements
  • Financial appraisal for planning, development and regeneration staff.
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Bursaries on offer for young planners - 12/02/09

As part of our 25th Anniversary celebrations, TRA has teamed up with the RTPI Young Planners Network to offer training bursaries to 25 young planners.

TRA has always championed the training and development of young planners, who we view as vital to the future success of the profession. We believe that in challenging economic times such as these, investment in staff through training is even more crucial to the long term success of both the individual and the organisation they work for.

We are therefore delighted to offer 25 free places on our planning related one-day events in 2009 to those young planners who are able to demonstrate a particular commitment to the work and development of young planners or who can demonstrate a need for training in a particular subject area.

For full details of eligible events, terms and conditions, and to download an application form, please see our website.

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Scotland training programme - further details available - 12/02/09

We have been busy recently, adding details for the remainder of the workshops in the 2009 programme to the website and individual leaflets/booking forms are now available to be downloaded in a pdf format for the majority of the workshops. We will not be circulating hard copy leaflets/booking forms this year as we have done in the past, so you will need to download these for the workshops you are interested in. We are trialling this method to reduce paper consumption as part of our Environmental Management System and hope you will be supportive of it. If you haven't already signed up to receive our publicity by e-mail, you can do so here.

Copies of our brochure outlining the programme as a whole will still be available, please just get in touch if you would like one.

The programme this year includes 5 brand new workshops and details for the first four of these can be found via the following links:

  • Advertisement Control - (Edinburgh, 17 March 2009)
  • Design Policy: making the most of the opportunity - (Edinburgh, 13 May 2009)
  • Certificates of Lawfulness: what are they and how should they be handled? - (Glasgow, 23 June 2009)
  • Financial Appraisal - (Glasgow, 8 October 2009)

For details and booking forms for all the other workshops in the 2009 programme, a total of 18 in all, just go to the website and follow the relevant links. If you would like to make a provisional booking to reserve places on any of the workshops you can do so by telephone or via the online provisional bookings page of the website.

Finally, don't forget our popular Discounted Block Booking System which will continue to operate this year whereby you will receive a 15% discount when booking 6 or more places over any number of events in the programme.

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Conference/event organisation service - 12/02/09

If you are a member of a group or organisation (big or small, formal or not-so-formal) and you would like to organise a conference or event then TRA may be able to help you.

As a reader of ENews you will already know that TRA has been successfully organising its own conferences and training events for the public sector for many years. Now, through our Conference Organisation service, all the skills, knowledge and experience we have gained during this time are being put at the disposal of other organisations.

Many public sector organisations, agencies and professional bodies wish to run conferences or similar events but often do not have available to them "in-house" the sort of resources that TRA has. In such circumstances, TRA can offer specialist support to complement and supplement the organisation's own commitment to the event and basically take away the administrative and logistical hassle. This leaves the client organisation free to concentrate on the professional, technical or promotional aspects - which is the bit they are most interested in after all.

We can organise lots of different sorts of events, from 1-day events for limited numbers to large residential conferences lasting several days. The uncertainty and commerical risk that comes with organising conferences can be very off-putting to public sector clients so we offer a range of financial arrangements including "no cost/no risk" options.

Details of the service we can provide are on our website and include a more detailed PDF flier for download. If you think we may be help you organise an event please feel to get in touch for an initial discussion, without obligation.

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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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