The latest news from PAS

Welcome to the Planning Advisory Service. We are part of the Local Government Association and run fourteen projects funded by the Department of Levelling Up and Housing, Defra and Natural England. Our work covers the basic building blocks of planning like local plans and making decisions, as well as helping councils understand and respond to the policy and data implications of the planning reform agenda. You can see below our latest bulletin - you can sign up using the "keep in touch" item in the "about us" menu above.

Latest news

Introduction May 2023

It feels like we are finally on the run-up to the summer. The local elections are over, training for members is well underway, and the sun occasionally peeps through the clouds.

As with previous years, where a new system is emerging, PAS is moving to work in parallel on 'business as usual' and reform. For some areas of our programme, the lines between these areas will blur, and for others, it will be obvious. The intention is that Councils will get the support they need regardless of where they are in the programme.

If you are not already engaged in our programme and would benefit from support, or you have some best practice to share, then please contact [email protected] 

LGA New councillors’ introduction to planning online event, 31 May 10am - book now!

With lots of new councillors in post following the local government elections PAS are working with the LGA to deliver a short session to introduce planning for councillors. This free online session, held at 10am on 31 May, for local authority councillors, will: 

  • explain the planning process
  • give clarity to some of its complexities
  • highlight the importance and different roles that councillors have interacting with the process.

  Book your place

Biodiversity Net gain updated FAQs 

We have updated our BNG Frequently Asked Questions with the latest information from Defra and DLUHC.

Advice on writing Planning Committee protocols 

At this time of year many councils will be reviewing the operation of their Planning Committee. The LGA produced a helpful guide on Probity in Planning in 2019, and we have complemented this guide by trawling through the different protocols around the country to help you identify some of the best practice. This is now on the Planning Committee section of the PAS website. If you have any other best practice you would like to share with us, please contact [email protected] 

Planning Peer reviews

A planning peer review, sometimes called a 'peer challenge', is in-depth look at a local planning service by a group of fellow planners and elected members. It provides a critical friend's view and advice, identifying strengths or good practice as well as opportunities for improvement. We are currently developing a new peer review programme for the year. If it could be useful for your service please see our webpages for more information and get in touch. 

Have you responded to the infrastructure Levy consultation? 

We held a series of workshops focussing on the technical consultation on the design of the Infrastructure Levy (which runs until 9 June 2023). This included a webinar with officials from DLUHC which provided a really helpful overview of the consultation. We have published a recording of the presentation that may be helpful in preparing your consultation response. We have also published the presentations from the more focussed workshops, and a frequently asked questions resource drafted in response to questions raised.

Delivering Infrastructure through developer contributions

We are delighted that we have received funding to continue our support with councils on helping to improve the governance of developer contributions. With proposals to introduce an Infrastructure Levy, including a requirement for councils to prepare Infrastructure Delivery Strategies, the approach to infrastructure planning and decisions on prioritising spend will become even more important. Please email [email protected] for further information.

Office for Place news! 

The Office for Place is recruiting for two exciting roles, both are being offered as one-year fixed contracts and with the potential to be as secondments. Closing date is 11pm on Monday 5 June. For more details check out the links below.

Office for Place Research Lead - Civil Service Jobs - GOV.UK Office for Place Design Code Lead - Civil Service Jobs - GOV.UK 

The Office for Place, with support from the High Streets Taskforce, has put together this free urban design online event.

Urban design, high street regeneration, and antisocial behaviour
7 June 2023, 3:30pm to 5pm, online via Teams

The event will be looking at how urban design and high street regeneration can contribute towards The team at PAS has released a set of case studies looking at Biodiversity Net Gain and Nature Recovery. You can check them out on our website.

Planning Officer Society (POS) Conference

The POS Conference is taking place in Gateshead, and this year bursaries of full conference places, including accommodation, are available for local government ‘rising star’ planners. Find out more about the POS conference.

Blog - How to solve the backlog issue 

A backlog of planning applications has been in the news recently, so Programme Manager Richard Crawley says some fairly basic things about it on the PAS blog, and suggests a temporary amnesty of the performance regime is necessary to allow councils to deal with it quickly.

LGA host biodiversity and nature recovery show and tell webinar 

On 20 April 2023, 319 people attended a biodiversity and nature recovery webinar held by the LGA and PAS, highlighting the good work councils are doing in their journey to achieving the Environment Improvement Plan set out by the UK Government. All presentations are available to download and you can also read a follow up blog from the LGA providing more detail on the issues covered on the day and useful links.  

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We provide high-quality help, advice, support and training on planning and service delivery to councils. We help local government officers and councillors stay effective and up to date. We have a ‘sector-led' improvement approach, where local authorities help each other to continuously improve.