About Us

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.

Photo of trees with Birmingham's city skyline in the back

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. 

More recently we have started working with Defra and Natural England to knit together how we plan for places alongside planning for the environment. 

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 Rose PAS


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 Moberly PAS



Beccy moved from biodiversity net gain to work on environmental elements of our DLUHC programme in April 2024.



Garreth Bruff PAS

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.





Liz Hobden PAS

Liz is working on Local Plans support. This is to help you to get your Plan over the line in the current system and to assist with the roll out of Local Plan Reforms.






Martin Hutchings PAS

Martin is our new Principal Adviser for Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). Martin will be helping Local Planning Authorities understand and respond to the opportunities and challenges of delivering BNG through the planning system.  






Nina Edward

Nina is our Programme Support Officer and helps us with all things admin and finance, as well as providing support across the work programme. She is currently helping Pete with Development Management. 






Peter Ford PAS

Peter leads on our Development Management support, helping local authorities to improve their decision-making and performance. 





Rachael Ferry-Jones PAS

Rachael leads on our work supporting councils 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 Jones

Rachel joins us on secondment from Wiltshire. She is part of our newest team working on water quality and the habitat regulations. 






Rachel Murtagh PAS

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 Crawley

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 Lewis PAS

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 Rouse PAS

Shelly leads our work on capacity, capability, skills and resources. She also works on the Pathways to Planning graduate scheme providing planning expertise.






Steve Barker PAS


Steve leads on our work supporting councils on design codes. He also works on the our programme of capacity, capability, skills and resourcing with councils. 





We all enjoy peer review, commercial work and working with councillors - and bicker with each other about who gets to do pick up these pieces of work. 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).