PAS Solutions

PAS gives support to councils. We give advice, offer guidance and toolkits and examples of best practice amongst other things. This is almost entirely funded by a grant from Government which means councils get it free. This is great, but it also means our grant-funded work can only be delivered to an agreed list of councils and cover defined topics. There might be times when you want our help with something that is not covered by the grant - we also do a limited amount of chargeable work each year too.

What we think makes our support unique is more than just our in-house expertise and close knowledge of the reform agenda. It is that as part of the LGA we can draw from a pool of experienced officer and member peers. Our objective is to provide practical and effective advice as a critical friend whilst keeping our charges to a minimum. If you think we can help, complete the form at the bottom of the page and we'll get back to you. 

Planning Peer Challenges

Our peer challenge takes its lead from the LGA corporate peer challenge process. It offers you a strategic and in-depth look at your service and provides an impartial and external assessment of your strenths and weaknesses. It can be a powerful way to improve the current planning service or be used to shape long term thinking in response to future challenges. We recommend them especially for heads new in post who need a prioritised and agreed improvement plan, as well as for services likely to go through significant change. 

The planning peer challenge is tailored to meet the specific needs you have. The onsite phase of the challenge takes place over three days and involve interviews with many dozens of staff, politicians and stakeholders. We will put together an experienced peer team who understand your council, and provide support advice from a supportive and experienced perspective. They are the most significant piece of support we offer, and while they are simple they are powerful because they create an agreed set of priorities with widespread buy-in. Most planning peer challenge reports are public - you can see some examples just by searching or see some recent reports:. 

Development Management Support

Most of our toolkits are designed to be used as self-serve materials, but you can also act us to deliver a review for you. We can organise a critical friend review of your processes using the Development Management Challenge Toolkit as a guide. You can select up to four areas of focus for the review which will be carried out by an experienced former DM Manager. It will include interviews with officers and managers and the output will be a concise report on findings and recommendations.

Similarly we can organise an impartial review of your Planning Committee processes conducted by an experienced senior planning manager and a planning member peer. It will include interviews with councillors, officers and key stakeholders. The output will be a report setting out findings and key recommendations to improve its operation including an impartial assessment of how it spends it time and the value it generates.

Planning Committee Training for Councillors

This will provide all the essentials for your new Planning Committee members and a refresher for existing members of the committee.  This training will broadly follow the defendable decision making presentation and be complemented by areas of particular focus that are needed for your Council. The added benefit is that it will be supported by an experienced member peer who will help to provide the training from a councillor perspective.

Planning Committee Case Study Training 

This will involve a practical exercise where a fully worked-through case study is used for a Major housing development or an out of town commercial development.  The Planning Committee is asked to consider the planning application using a fictitious case officer report and to debate the merits of the proposal as if they were actually considering the planning application for real.  Depending on the decision the Planning Committee reaches a series of learning points will be discussed with the Members and Officers.  In true PAS style there are a few tricks and potential pitfalls to overcome and helpful learning.

Bespoke Training Offer

We may be able to provide bespoke training to cover specific planning topics you would like us to cover such as Enforcement, Local Plans and Biodiversity Net Gain. We also know that the best committees are run in mutual respect and understanding but often in quite difficult circumstances. Part of our offer goes well beyond training and is more akin to mentoring or coaching. 

If you think PAS Solutions can help you

Our fees range from £1500 for simple training up to £17k for a wide-ranging planning peer challenge, with many of our prices somewhere in the middle of this range. If you are interested in any of the support and training we offer, please complete this form and we aim to come back to you promptly. Or if you want informal chat first, talk to our programme manager Richard Crawley.