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'PLANNING DEPTS REQUIRE GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT TO COPE WITH CHANGES TO CONSULTATION PROCESS'

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Next year local authority planning departments can expect major changes to the way they conduct BVPI satisfaction s...
Next year local authority planning departments can expect major changes to the way they conduct BVPI satisfaction surveys, advises the Institute of Public Finance (IPF).

'The ODPM is reconsidering the way local authorities conduct their planning surveys and we envisage major changes,' explains Jill Whitehead, senior consultant from IPF. 'The ODPM is currently looking at the guidelines that apply to such surveys, and the frequency with which they need to be carried out. The problem local authorities face is that many of them are too under resourced to deal with the increased work load.

'At IPF we believe that many planning departments will struggle to comply with the regulations on top of what they are already expected to do. That is why we have extended our consultation and research services to include assistance for planning departments.'

The IPF 'PLAN' service has been developed mainly to assist local authorities in carrying out local customer satisfaction surveys but still provide the ODPM's Best Value Performance Indicators (2003/04) within the guidelines stipulated.

Ms Whitehead continued: 'Planning departments can be confident using the new PLAN service. IPF has many years experience carrying out various surveys for local authorities, and our staff understand the complex issues often faced by planning departments. We are recognised by the ODPM as being one of the key providers of BVPI survey methodologies, and are part of a panel assisting with reviewing the future structure of BVPI surveys.'

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