The British Property Federation’s (BFP) planning manifesto calls for outsourcing in a 12-point programme.
The manifesto urges local authorities to outsource work to consultants, or form partnerships with the private sector on the lines of an Audit Commission backed initiative currently pioneered by Salford City Council.
Outsourcing work in this way would free up scarce qualified council planners to carry out higher level work.
It also says councils should also be encouraged to accept funding from property companies to help deal with planning applications.
While councils are able to do this, the manifesto describes as "unnecessary" fears over issues of probity restricting use of the practice.
The BPF also calls for councillors to receive formal planning training to help them take more informed decisions based on a better understanding of how the property market works.
And it recommends that planning resources should be pooled between councils, which should also be given extra incentives to promote development.