Unless you’ve done so already, I suggest reading my previous blog (link) to get some context about why I think this change presents an opportunity for the sector to re-think its approach to data management. The danger is that in the short term, responding to small incremental changes such as this, we forget to think through the future impact and risk losing valuable data.
In this post I explain the change a little more and set out a neat and easy way that councils can implement it and make sure that potentially valuable data isn’t lost to the sector.
Why the change?
From what I can make out, this is about reducing the data collection burden on councils and deleting a few spreadsheet columns. It makes sense to bundle small and large-scale majors together for a speed-based performance (designation) regime; but they can be very different animals when looking across a broader range of performance measures. Rather than throw the baby out with the bath water I’d like us to continue to differentiate performance between the small and larger scale development, even if when all’s said and done, the fundamentals of processing a scheme of a 150 or 1,000 units is pretty much the same.
The change in summary
Councils formerly recorded major development in PS2 forms using the labels Q1 – Q12. Q1-6 being for large-scale development, and Q 6-12 small-scale development of the same broad category. The new requirement is to band the two together into the labels Q1-Q6. HERE is what it looks like on paper.
Choose the ‘do nothing’ option
My proposal on implementing the change is; don’t change what you currently do, just change how you report what you do. Planners are good at this. Just continue to use the current labeling system (Q1 – Q12, Q13-Q25) in your management systems and simply re-label the data when it comes to reporting. At report time, once the data for Q1 + Q7 has been extracted, all of the Q7 data is re-labelled ‘Q1’ and so on and then entered into the PS2 return form. The work of minutes.
- No change to the day to day labeling of planning applications
- Councils can keep and receive performance data on small and large scale major development
- Meets all of the (changed) reporting requirements.
A council’s own internal reporting will be based on the current sets of ‘Q’ labels so this also remains intact. Taking part in external performance management work like the PAS Planning Quality Framework will also be seamless.
To find out more – here is a link to the official PS guidance.