The Deputy Director – Economic
Planning presented a report on Development
Management Transformation Projects.
Recent low performance figures, along with the
City Council’s transformation programme have identified the
need for a review of the Development Management
Service. Since 2016 the service has
struggled to maintain appropriate staffing levels both in terms of
recruiting staff and difficulties in recruiting. This had meant that the service had struggles to
maintain its previously excellent performance targets. Table 1 at paragraph 2.1 of the report set out the
performance in Quarter 3 as of 4th December
2018. The performance figures for
2015-18 were set out in the late paper.
In order to address this issue, two temporary
staff were appointed in February 2018 and as a result performance
figures have shown a significant improvement and are almost back to
In addition to this a number of transformation
projects are being undertaken to improve the service, these are as
of a new Development Management
software system (‘go-live’ 28th January
- New post of Senior
Development Management Assistant ;
- Review format of
reports to Planning Committee (draft for consideration at Appendix
1 attached to the report);
Management Improvement Challenge (Planning Advisory Service brief
attached as Appendix 2 to the report); and
The preferred option is to implement all of
the above projects.
The Deputy Director responded to questions
from Members. Comments were also made
by Members on the Development Management Improvement Challenge
toolkit at appendix 2
Members thanked the Deputy Director for the
report and hoped that this was the first phase of improving
planning processes and procedures.
Whilst welcoming the proposals some Members had concerns over the
general perception by residents who don’t have the right to
an appeal or don’t understand the rules and
regulations. It was felt that some
checks and balances needed to be in place and to learn from
A proposal to amend the recommendation was put
forward by Councillor Stephen as follows:
1.6 The Development
Management Improvement Challenge will review a sample of recent
planning applications to determine any lessons learnt for future
improvement with the goals being to:
a) Improve the
efficiency and effectiveness of the complete planning process,
b) Review the
culture, procedures and current practices to ensure that the
interests of Worcester City residents and Members are safeguarded
within the planning process.
The proposed amendment was seconded by
Councillor Alan Amos.
In the ensuing debate Members discussed the
proposed amendment and the needs of residents. It was agreed that there was also a need to be
careful of raising expectations. It was noted that not all
residents concerns were material considerations.
Although Members could understand the
reasoning behind the proposed amendment it was felt that the
proposal that was being put forward was providing an opportunity
The amendment having being proposed and
seconded was put to the vote and was lost.
Members then voted on the recommendations as
set out in the ...
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