Getting planning right is important for councils. It allows them to manage development, ensuring that the best possible outcomes are delivered for places. It requires political and technical leadership and engaged communities. Helping councils plan better is what we do.
What We Do
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities provides a grant each year for PAS so we can provide support to councils. We are funded to help get local plans up-to-date and to improve decision-making, as well as running event series on topical issues. We can also work with councillors and do thorough "peer challenge" reviews of planning departments. We believe in a ‘sector led' improvement approach, where local authorities help each other to continuously improve.
We were originally set up in 2005 by the then Office of the Deputy Prime Minister to help councils respond to the significant changes initiated by the 2004 Planning Act. Since then we have been various shapes and sizes but our focus has always been on helping Local Government play their part in an effective planning system.
Who We Are
We are a small team of fifteen, with a few people based on the fifth floor of the LGA's building on Smith Square and the others working remotely across England. In recent years we have recruited some new team members so we have had some policy swap-arounds and have expanded our programme on environmental planning:
Anna is the Head of the Planning Advisory Service and has oversight of the whole programme of activity. She manages the team and client relationships. Anna is a member of the Improvement management team at the LGA.
Beccy leads on our project with Defra to help LPAs prepare for forthcoming requirements for biodiversity net gain.
Garreth is working with a range of local authorities on a project to support the delivery of Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects as well as supporting Sarah on the Freeport planning project. He is also interested in town centre planning, looking at the changing role of town centres and impact of recent planning reforms to the way we manage them.
Krista is currently on secondment with PAS from Greater Manchester Combined Authority leading on the delivery of a Natural England funded Nature Recovery Network Project. The project helps local authorities understand what the government’s emerging nature recovery reforms mean for them and how they can translate these into local priorities, activities and partnerships.
Liz is one of our newest members. Liz is helping with Development Management support and resourcing and skills for local planning authorities.
Martin helps councils get up to date local plans in place. This includes helping them respond to the opportunities, challenges and requirements of the (ever) evolving planning system. Martin also works on Nutrient Neutrality and Urban Regeneration support.
Nina is our Programme Support Officer and helps us with all things admin and finance. She is currently supporting Martin and Rachael with Local Plans Support.
Peter leads on our Development Management support, helping local authorities to improve their decision making and performance. He also works on our new design code support.
Rachael leads on our work supporting council's in their role to deliver infrastructure to support development. This includes a focus on the effective use of developer contributions (CIL and Section 106) and helping to improve governance processes to ensure delivery. Rachael also supports our work on town centres, urban regeneration and housing delivery.
Rachel joins us on secondment from Wiltshire. She is part of our newest team working on water quality and the habitat regulations.
Rachel leads on the delivery of the Protected Sites Strategies project for Natural England, part of the government’s emerging nature recovery reform. Taking her most recent experience leading the Tees Valley Nature Partnership she will support local authorities to be central to the formal collaborative arrangements that address pressures on our most highly protected areas for nature in England (inc. Marine Protected Sites).
Richard leads the environment side of the PAS team and looks after our work on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects and our digital network. He also manages the programme - keeping an eye on our delivery, evaluation, procurement and finances.
Sarah is one of our newest members. Sarah leads on our work with Freeports, supporting councils in Freeport areas with custom and tax site delivery. Sarah is also supporting Garreth in our work with councils on Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects.
Shelly leads our work on capacity, capability, skills and resources. She also works on the Pathways to Planning graduate scheme providing planning expertise.
Steve is our lead for our work on design codes.
We all enjoy peer review and commercial work, and bicker with each other about who gets to do what. Contact our team inbox with any general enquiries and one of us will get back to you (or refer you to the KHub if it's something we don't know).