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SURVEY TARGETS COUNCILLORS' PLANNING TRAINING NEEDS

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A review of the training councillors get in dealing with planning issues is the subject of a national survey launch...
A review of the training councillors get in dealing with planning issues is the subject of a national survey launched today by planning minister Tony McNulty. The survey is going to local authorities' chief executives, chief planning officers and a sample of elected members.

The survey - jointly commissioned by the government, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the LGA and the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) - aims to find out where training currently falls short.

Mr McNulty said:

'From patios and loft conversions to major by-passes or a new school, councillors play a huge role in deciding the future shape of the community they serve.

'As a former councillor on a planning committee I know just how vital proper training is in being able to reach the right decision. This survey will allow councillors themselves to tell us where the gaps are in their current training.'

Jane Chevis, chair LGA planning executive said:

'The government's plans for reform of the planning system set out new challenges for all those involved with planning issues.

'All councillors will need to be aware of the proposed reforms to the planning system and the emphasis on improving performance, openness and inclusion. There is a pivotal role for councillors in communicating and championing this new vision. I hope that all involved in this important nation-wide survey will respond enthusiastically and I would encourage all local planning authorities to respond to the survey The results will help to improve training in the future.'

Mike Haslam, president of the RTPI, who is organising the survey said:

'Councillors have a key role in our planning system. The RTPI nationally and its members locally put much time and effort into training in planning for councillors. This survey is timely and has my full support and I encourage the completion of the survey forms.'

Paul Wheeler, assistant director of IDeA, said:

'In planning matters councillors have the unique responsibility in balancing local interest and wider community need. It is vital that this responsibility is undertaken in a professional and transparent manner. Effective training and the promotion of good practice will assist new and existing councillors enormously.'

Notes

1. The government's 18 July planning reform document, Planning to drive communities future, underlined the need to raise the skills of planners as part of a series of measures to change the culture of planning. The document can be found here.

2. The original training syllabus was first outlined in 1999 by the DETR, the LGA, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the IDeA.

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