Do you know how much Planning costs ?

[This article was originally published in Planning Magazine, January 2008]

As we go into a new year we often take stock of where we are and what we need to do for a productive start and fresh perspective. This is particularly the case as we go into a tightening financial environment. With this in mind I wonder if you know exactly what you spend on resources and if you have enough to run your planning service effectively.

The planning sector is undergoing substantial changes in the way we work with new regimes coming into play, so at no time has it been more important to know what resources you need to meet the ever increasing demands made on your service. But before you go to the corporate centre with your begging bowl you need to be sure you are using your resources wisely.

From the diagnostic work that PAS has been carrying out in over 60 authorities we know that one of the big barriers to delivering the Local Development Framework is the ability to understand resource requirements to be able to do the job properly. From this analysis we know that almost half of those authorities involved do not understand these requirements and are therefore not able to use the resources that they do have effectively.

Understanding resource need and use will help you put a reasoned case for more. Being sufficiently resourced will ensure that you are better positioned to respond to the challenges of HDCR, fee increases and response to the HPDG in addition to the ever increasing demands of your users. Resources need to be focused on these important questions and channelled to where they can create and add value.

Maybe a new year’s resolution would be: “I will understand how much it costs to run this service, how many people I need and how I will respond to the changes ahead.”

This would be a robust way to start the new year – happy new year to you all.

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