following their recent completion of a risk assessment of arrangements for
making planning decisions in the city.
Planning', is that Manchester's approach to planning is 'generally sound'
and the auditors identify a number of key areas which are in line with
recognised good practice.
-Working relationships between officers and elected members are soundly
based on a culture of partnership, respect and mutual trust, with open
channels of communication.
-Members have a high degree of confidence in officers' professional
judgement on planning applications and usually accept their
-Members are kept up to date with planning applications.
-Following their observations of the development control and traffic
regulation committee, the auditors reported that the committee operated in
an orderly and open manner with the general public being invited to speak
on relevant issues.
The audit was carried out over a 12 month period as part of a review of
current planning procedures at local authorities throughout the country.
The aim of the review is to ensure that planning procedures are clear and
fair and that decisions are taken in the best interests of the community
within legislative requirements.
Local authorities have an important task in assuring the public that they
maintain high ethical standards.
Commenting on the findings, Cllr Val Stevens, executive member for
planning and transport, said: 'Decisions on planning applications can be
highly charged affairs, but our procedures are designed to be open and
above board. The district audit's assessment should allay any concerns
that people may sometimes have.'
Cllr Tony Burns, who chairs the committee responsible for dealing
with planning applications, said: 'The committee has a duty to act with
the utmost integrity when making decisions. I am delighted with the
outcome of the assessment which is a credit to the committee and the
officers who report to us.'