ENews Issue - 31 July 2012

ENews - July 2012

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.

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In this issue:

  • 2012 Forum on Enforcement - details now available
  • Training workshops for Planning and Development Staff - Autumn 2012
  • TRA cookies
  • A 'refreshing' workshop for Redditch and Bromsgrove Councillors
  • Lewisham commissions tailored training on the Basics of Planning and Permitted Development
  • Are you a part of The Planning Admin Network (PAN)?




2012 Forum on Enforcement - details now available

Further to the information published in June's Enews, arrangements for the 2012 Forum on Enforcement have now been finalised and are currently being circulated to our usual postal and email contacts.

The Forum will take place in Manchester on 25 October 2012. Details and a downloadable leaflet/booking form are available on the TRA website.

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Training workshops for Planning and Development Staff - Autumn 2012

As mentioned in last month's Enews the TRA inter-authority workshop programme for Planning and Development Practitioners is currently taking a break for the Summer. However workshops will re-commence in the Autumn with the first batch in the England/Wales programme taking place at our London venue on the 25 September. Bookings are going well for these workshops, but there are a number of places still left if you are interested in attending. The workshops are:

Managing in Planning Today: achieving more from less (NEW FOR 2012)

Managers today have to balance incorporating new legislation, prospective new national planning guidance and new thinking associated with localism about how things are done, with maintaining and where possible improving delivery and performance. At the same time, budgets are under threat, staff are worried about their futures, and in many cases morale is falling. Has it ever been a harder environment to manage in? This brand new one-day workshop focuses on three key skills of leadership, motivation, and handling resistance to change; participants will come away with a better understanding of how they can proactively influence service delivery in these challenging times. The workshop is appropriate for section managers, team leaders (both planning and support teams) and senior officers looking to take the next ste p into management.

Planning Enforcement in Practice: the core elements in detail

This workshop will be best suited to those who already have at least some experience of enforcement either as enforcement officers, planning officers or lawyers. For anyone who has previously attended our popular Basics of Planning Enforcement workshop this new session will be an ideal 'next step'. The workshop focuses on the nuts and bolts of handling enforcement complaints: getting information to assess a breach; drafting a report on expediency; and considering the use of an enforcement notice. There will be an opportunity to look at what went wrong with some real notices and whether they could be rectified on appeal. Where appropriate, the workshop will also include an update on any government proposals affecting enforcement.

Being an Effective Witness at Inquiries (NEW FOR 2012)

This new workshop is aimed at both planning and other technical officers who may be called as an Expert Witness at a Planning Inquiry but have relatively 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. It will identify the legal and procedural requirements and provide practical advice on the approach to providing both the written and oral evidence needed to support reasons for refusal, conditions to be attached to a permission, or justification for enforcement action.

Further details and booking forms for each workshop can be found on the TRA website via the relevant links above. If you are unable to make a firm booking straight away, provisional bookings are recommended and can be made by telephone on 01204 385678 or via our online provisional bookings facility.

Don't forget, discounts of up to 15% are available for bookings of 2 or more places made at the same time over any number of workshops (or conference events) in the 2012 programme.

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TRA cookies

Sadly, we're not talking about the choc-chip kind but those little files that get stored on your computer when you use websites. You may have noticed a large number of websites telling you about their use of cookies since the end of May 2012. That was the deadline for organisations to comply with the recent regulations on privacy and electronic communications by informing users about the use of cookies on their websites.

The TRA site uses some unobtrusive cookies (small text files) to store information on your computer. Some cookies on our site are essential and the site would not work properly without them. These cookies are set when you submit a form or interact with the site by doing something that goes beyond clicking on simple links.

If you have visited the TRA website recently you will have seen a brief pop-up message about cookies and there's a small icon on the bottom right of the website that provides more information if you need it.

Most people are already familiar with cookies to some extent but rest assured that a cookie in no way gives us access to your computer or any information about you, other than the data you choose to share with us. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies, but you can usually modify your browser settings to decline cookies if you prefer. You just need to remember, though, that this may prevent you from taking full advantage of our website.

Our use of cookies and other issues relating to your privacy are covered in our Privacy Policy.

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A 'refreshing' workshop for Redditch and Bromsgrove Councillors

TRA is the UK's leading provider of practitioner-presented training for Councillors involved in planning and has trained Councillors in more than 210 local authorities throughout England, Scotland and Wales. In addition to our popular one-day sessions A Briefing on Planning and The Role of Councillors in Planning: propriety and good practice; we are also happy to consider designing bespoke training sessions to suit the requirements of a particular authority.

For several years TRA has delivered Councillor training for members in Redditch and Bromsgrove, and most recently were commissioned to prepare and present a bespoke training workshop aimed at more experienced members. The workshop was intended as a 'refresher', to reaffirm knowledge and to allow an update on recent changes to the way in which the English Planning System operates.

The session covered topics such as:

  • development management
  • decision making
  • conflicts of interest
  • predisposition/predetermination
  • the Localism Act 2011 provisions
  • the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
  • green belt issues.

The workshop was designed and delivered by TRA presenter, Andrew Ashcroft and feedback from participants was excellent:

  • High expectations fully realised! John Tidmarsh, Bromsgrove DC
  • Good refresher. The update on the Localism Act was so beneficial. M. Buxton, Bromsgrove DC
  • Excellent session; fully engaged with members and made a potentially confusing session interesting and understandable for all. James Brogan, Bromsgrove DC
  • Excellent stuff! Rod Laight, Bromsgrove DC
  • Explained the new factors of the Localism Act; was exactly what was required. Alan Mason, Redditch BC
  • The presenter, as ever, was very good. Correct pace; correct context; nice manner and lots of 'real life' examples. William Hartnett, Redditch BC
  • Well presented - lots to fit in, in a short slot. Well organised with emphasis in the appropriate places. Good liaison beforehand obviously occurred. Ailith Rutt, Redditch BC.

If your authority has some specific training requirements for members and you would like to discuss them in more detail, then please feel free to contact Angela Holmes who can provide you with a detailed proposal, including an outline programme. Please remember that the prices we quote are 'all-in" and therefore include all of our fees, presenter's expenses and pre-course/course documentation - so there are no hidden extras!

See a list of some of the topics we currently offer on Specific Aspects of Planning for Councillors on our website.

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Lewisham commissions tailored training on the Basics of Planning and Permitted Development

TRA has extensive experience of delivering in-house training for staff in over 220 authorities and we know, especially in the current financial climate, how crucial it is that training is focused where it is needed most. This approach ensures that the key resources i.e. your staff, are able to work more effectively and efficiently and, equally as important, that you get value for money out of training.

That is why we are always happy to consider developing bespoke workshops, or tailoring existing sessions, to ensure that the training we provide meets the unique requirements of our individual clients.

The London Borough of Lewisham recently commissioned TRA to prepare and deliver a one-day bespoke training session. The session itself was essentially a 'hybrid' based on two existing workshops, The Basics of Planning and A Workshop on Permitted Development.

The objectives of this particular session were to:

  • introduce participants to the planning process and explain the different control regimes that operate in a Planning Department
  • look at the different types of planning applications, how they are determined and rights of appeal
  • give a brief explanation about "enforcement"
  • investigate the concept of Permitted Development (PD).

The training was developed and delivered by TRA Senior Associate, Vivien Green and feedback from participants was very encouraging:

  • I thought it was very thorough and very useful. The presenter explained and delivered all of the information very effectively. The scenario section on a planning dilemma was particularly effective. Jennifer Lee
  • The workshop exceeded my expectations. It not only reinforced the knowledge I already had but expanded on it as well, particularly with regards to Permitted Development. The whole workshop was delivered in a knowledgeable and informative way, but it was also good fun. Dan Morrish
  • I thought the presenter's delivery was excellent. Sharon Blake
  • Lots of detailed information. Also a very good broad overview. Enough information, at all levels, to be engaging. Andrew Patterson
  • Exceeded my expectations. The morning was informative, fast paced and an enjoyable background to planning. The afternoon on Permitted Development was just as informative. Thank you for adding additional suggestions to the content. Alison Bradshaw.

If you have any particular in-house training requirements that you would like to discuss, or you would like to look at the possibility of tailoring an existing TRA workshop to meet with your specific needs then please feel free to contact Angela Holmes, without obligation.

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Are you a part of The Planning Admin Network (PAN)?

The Planning Admin Network (PAN) has been established since November 2006; it has over 500 members and is of benefit to ANYONE who is interested in how the Planning Systems in England, Wales and Scotland function. It is not just aimed at Admin/Support staff, as the name might suggest.

The network functions via a dedicated website and because the network operates online, it's easy to contact people working in similar jobs regardless of whether they are in the next town or at the other end of the country - an opportunity you don't often get! It is coordinated by the TRA team including Senior Associate, Vivien Green, whom many of you already know.

Membership is absolutely FREE and the key features are:

  • an interactive discussion forum - which offers members an opportunity to ask questions/get advice from other members
  • a monthly news section - enabling you to keep up to date with developments in planning
  • a useful links page - signposting other websites which may be helpful
  • a calendar - which allows you to see and set yourself reminders for upcoming TRA inter-authority workshops which might be of interest.

According to a previous survey, The Discussion Forum in particular is a very popular and useful feature; allowing members to pose questions and/or share their own knowledge and experience with others working in similar roles. There is also the opportunity to subscribe to the forum so that you receive an emailed notification when anyone has posted a new thread or replied to an existing thread - this ensures that you do not miss out on any action!

PAN News is updated once a month and is packed full of interesting and useful articles about the planning world and the wider context such as new legislation, current consultations etc. See an example of previous PAN News.

The PAN registration process is quick and easy and you only need to provide your preferred username, email and password. If you would like to join the network, you can sign up via the PAN website - just click on "register" on the homepage at www.planningadminnetwork.co.uk. Alternatively, to see more details visit the PAN page on our website.

Don't delay, sign up to become a PAN member today and open yourself up to a wealth of FREE information!

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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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