Who we are and what we do

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 is what we do.


The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government provides a grant each year for the 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. 

We are a small team of nine, 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 2021 we recruited some new team members so we have had some policy swap-arounds:

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 and Natural England to help LPAs implement the Environment Bill, with a focus on the forthcoming requirements for biodiversity net gain and local nature recovery strategies.

Garreth is working on town centres, looking at their changing role and the impact of recent reforms to the Use Classes Order. He is also developing a new piece of work on Freeports as well as supporting our environmental planning project on net gain and nature recovery networks. 

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 supports our work on town centres and urban regeneration. 

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. 

Richard is working on Habitat regulations and a research project called "the planning service of 2025". He also keeps an eye on our deliver evaluation, procurement and finances. 

Shelly leads our work on monitoring and delivery, principally the housing delivery test as well as land supply including annual position statements. She is also assisting with our local plan work.

Steve is our lead for our new work on design codes and works with LPAs around Development Management including support around performance. He also works on our programme of support for elected members.

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).