ENews Issue - 30 September 2009

ENews - September 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:

  • LRB training for Scottish authorities well under way
  • In-house training options in development control and enforcement
  • Diagnostic Review carried out for Redditch BC
  • Workshop programmes for 2009 and 2010
  • Jed Griffiths tells Councillors to behave themselves!
  • Keep up to date via TRA Conferences/Forums - a cost effective option




LRB training for Scottish authorities well under way - 30/09/09

In Scotland, the new framework of Local Review Bodies (LRBs), whereby planning decisions can be reviewed by a panel of local Councillors, came into effect on the 3rd August 2009. This new set up puts those Councillors involved in very unfamiliar roles and training is clearly going to be crucial if they are to operate effectively. Training for those involved in LRBs was recommended by the Government in Circular 7/2009.

As the leading provider of training for Councillors involved in planning, TRA is ideally placed to develop and deliver training to assist authorities to get to grips with this complicated and controversial new framework. Two interactive in-house workshops were developed by TRA and were included in the training options suggested to authorities by the Improvement Service. Since the beginning of August, TRA has delivered 8 workshops for 5 authorities (Moray, Dundee, Glasgow, West Lothian and Scottish Borders) and more are scheduled during October and November.

The LRB workshops are delivered by experienced TRA presenters, Vivien Green, Frances McChlery and Sue Glover.

The first workshop, on key principles and practice, is an initial briefing session which can be run quickly to address immediate training requirements, provide an overview of what is involved and identify the key skills and knowledge required. Importantly, it also deals with the probity dimension of being a member of this new body. The second workshop covers the practicalities of specific mechanisms in the new framework which put councillors in unfamiliar roles. The two workshops can be run consecutively, or the second can be organised subsequently as training needs are more clearly identified.

For more information on the workshops please visit our Local Review Bodies web page, or download our PDF flyer.

Our understanding is that although the Improvement Service has made money available to authorities to fund training on LRBs, there is a deadline by which this money needs to be spent, apparently the end of 2009. So, if you have not yet made arrangements to provide this kind of training for your LRB members, we would suggest that you do not delay any longer!

If you would like any more information on the TRA workshops or to discuss your requirements, without obligation, please contact Angela Holmes.

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In-house training options in development control and enforcement - 29/09/09

If you are looking for ways of providing training for staff involved in development control/management and enforcement, depending on the number of staff involved, it could be worth your while looking at the options for in-house training provided by TRA. "In-house" training is where we come to you rather than the other way round.

There are clear benefits for the authority in choosing in-house training. Key benefits include:

  • better Value for Money than other external training options
  • the ability to tailor training to your needs
  • the option to share training with neighbouring authorities
  • less impact on the environment through reduced travel.

A full list of benefits, along with information on the practicalities of organising in-house training, can be found on our website.

TRA has been delivering training for planning and development staff on an in-house basis since 1990 and this element of our business has increased in scale considerably in recent years. There are lots of topics available - our website provides details of the main areas we can cover in in-house training for development control and enforcement - and we are also happy to consider developing bespoke/tailored sessions on request. Most of the workshops we run on an inter-authority basis as part of our advertised programmes can be run in-house.

Workshops delivered over the last few months include:

  • The Basics of Planning, for the Sussex Training Consortium
  • An Introduction to Planning Obligations and Agreements, for the Surrey Planning Officers Association
  • The Basics of Planning Enforcement, for London Borough of Tower Hamlets
  • Negotiation Concepts and Skills, for Northampton Borough Council.

If you are interested in learning more about the in-house training options available please visit the website and/or contact Angela Holmes.

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Diagnostic Review carried out for Redditch BC - 28/09/09

TRA recently launched a brand new diagnostic review of development management service as part of our expanding portfolio of procedural consultancy services for local authority planning. One of the first authorities to go for this service was Redditch Borough Council and their review was carried out during July and August.

A TRA diagnostic review is a relatively short and focused review which examines how development management is organised within a client authority, with the aim of identifying any particular areas of concern or any specific aspects where a more detailed review could be most effectively focused (any subsequent work need not involve TRA, although of course we do undertake more detailed reviews when required). It covers all elements of the DM process and is focused mainly on the procedures involved, although it will also consider related aspects of structure and staffing to a limited extent. The output of the review is a short written report and we aim to handle each assignment within a month, and within two at the most.

Feedback from Redditch via their DC Manager, Ailith Rutt, has been very positive and the recommendations coming out of the review have proved extremely useful to the authority as the basis for action plans covering both short and long term improvements to the service.

Further details of the diagnostic review service, including a PDF leaflet, can be found on our website. If you would like to discuss the possibility of commissioning this kind of review for your authority please feel free to contact Penny O'Shea without obligation.

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Workshop programmes for 2009 and 2010 - 28/09/09

Our inter-authority workshops for planning practitioners for 2009 are getting under way again in England and Scotland following the summer break and there are a number of topics being covered between now and Christmas which will hopefully be of interest. There are places available on most of the workshops at this stage, so take a look at our programmes for England & Wales and Scotland and see if anything catches your eye. Prompt booking is recommended though at this stage.

Topics covered between now and the end of the year include:

  • Trees and the Planning Process - Edinburgh, 20 October
  • Being Effective at Enforcement Enquiries - York, 22 October
  • Negotiation Concepts and Skills - London, 3 November
  • Design in Development Management - Glasgow, 10 November
  • The Basics of Planning Enforcement - Bristol, 17 November
  • Writing Effective Policies in the LDF - Manchester, 26 November
  • Sustainable Construction (NEW) - London, 8 December
  • Effective Planning and Enforcement Site Visits - Edinburgh, 9 December.

For those of you already looking ahead to 2010, we are currently putting the finishing touches to our programmes for next year and these will be available shortly. Details will be posted on the website asap and circulated to our usual mailing contacts either by post or email.

If you do not currently receive our publicity information directly but would like to please complete our mailing list sign-up form. If you are already on our circulation list but still receiving our information by post, we strongly recommend that you switch to our email circulation. You can do this by filling in the same mailing list sign-up form.

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Jed Griffiths tells Councillors to behave themselves! - 28/09/09

Jed Griffiths, Senior Associate with TRA, and one of the most experienced members of our Councillor training team, recently gave a talk to Councillors attending the Elected Members' element of Planning Summer School in Exeter.

His paper, entitled "Planning and Propriety: Behave Yourselves!" aimed to stimulate debate around the many issues surrounding the planning process and the involvement of Councillors. He reflected on developments in the ethical framework for local government since 1995 and how these affect planning; examined the provisions of the Model Codes of Conduct across the UK and possible changes; and considered a number of issues around the process of development management and member involvement. The paper was very well received and Jed has been asked to deliver it again at the RTPI East of England Conference for Elected Members on 20 October. A full copy is available for download.

As the leading provider of training for Councillors involved in planning, TRA has trained members in more than 180 local authorities. Details of this service are available on our website for England & Wales and Scotland. If you are considering providing training for Councillors in your authority we would be pleased to discuss your requirements on a no-commitment basis - just get in touch.

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Keep up to date via TRA Conferences/Forums - a cost effective option - 25/09/09

TRA Forums/Conferences are well established mechanisms for keeping up to date with policy and practice issues, learning about techniques and methodology, and exchanging experience with fellow practitioners in a structured but informal environment.

With places priced at just £155 (or even less if part of a block booking) these events cannot be beaten for Value for Money.

There are two Forums coming up in the next couple of months and it's not too late to book if you would like to attend:

  • A Forum on Enforcement - 27 October, Warrington

    Please note that due to the high number of bookings, an additional parallel session has recently been added - Les Smith, Senior Enforcement Officer from Cheshire West & Chester, will talk about "Advertisements you can't ignore".
  • Planning Policy Forum - 4 November, London.

    This forum is brand new for 2009 and features an excellent panel of speakers, including the government's Chief Planner, Steve Quartermain.

Further details, including booking forms, for both events can be found via the links above. Provisional bookings can be made by telephone or online and are strongly recommended if you cannot send a confirmed booking right away.

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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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