Quality/Designation Measure (1) do you ‘get’ it?

Last year the government got serious about the ‘Quality’ of decision making as part of the Designation regime. They are still mulling over whether to designate any councils, and, while the jury is out for last year, the regime continues and we’ve already reached the end of the two-year assessment period (April 2016 – March 2018) for this year’s round.

I’m regularly asked how the performance calculation works – like most things to do with designation,  no one really bothers to understand it until they get in trouble and that’s usually too late. So, please read this previous blog on staying ahead of designation, and read on for a beter understanding of  the quality performance measure.

Quality of decision making – how is my council’s performance measured?

The ‘Quality’ performance criteria is the total number of appeals lost divided by the total number of applications decided (so it’s a percentage of overall decisions, NB not total number of appeals divided by lost appeals).

This is how it operates:

  1. The current period under assessment is 1st April 2016 to 31st March 2018.
  2. Within this period, MHCLG count up all of the applications decided during the assessment period, plus any appeals for non-determination during this period. This is one part of the sum; this is the ‘total number of applications’. MHCLG will wait until December 2018 before getting out their calculators – this allows a 9 month ‘lag’ for appeals to go through the process/system.
  3. The second part of the sum is the number of appeals made on those applications that were decided during the assessment period. The number of overturns relating to these appeals is then viewed as a percentage of all decisions made in the period. A mocked up example:
  • Total number of decisions made in designation period: 100 (all decided applications, and non determined applications that were appealed)
  • Appeals made on these decisions: 20 (appeals made and decided 9 months after 31st March 2018 – the ‘lag’ period)
  • Appeals overturned: 11 (out of the 20)
  • 11/100 expressed as a %age – designation performance 11%. This is above the 10% performance threshold so you’d be in trouble.

The number of appeals made/allowed doesn’t really come into the equation – it is the number overturned as a percentage of the overall number of decisions.

How to manage quality performance

Because of this 9 month time lag, you need to start looking NOW at what might happen come December 2018 (when CLG do their sums). Here’s what to do:

  • You know how many majors* you’ve decided in the designation assessment period (ref. your PS1/2 returns)
  • You know how many cases you’ve refused so you should have an idea which of these refusals are likely to be appealed (and if so which ones you are confident of winning)
  • You also know current appeals going through and should have a feel for whether they are likely to be overturned or not.
  • By putting all of these things together you should have a feel for what your risk is come December 2018.

In many ways it’s already too late to effect performance this year, BUT ITS NOT TOO LATE to understand where you’ll end up. If you are in trouble, government will expect you to have a good response prepared about why performance looks like it does and what measures you’ve put in place to address things – the sooner the better. MHCLG fund PAS to support councils in trouble so get in touch with me (martin.hutchings@local.gov.uk) if you have concerns and we can assess the risk and begin helping you to get a strong case together should the worst happen. Even if you are ok this time, it’s not too late to start preparing for the 2017 – 2019 assessment period using the approach outlined above.

*The quality indicator works the same for majors and non majors – but no one gets close on non majors because of the massive numbers of decisions.


One thought on “Quality/Designation Measure (1) do you ‘get’ it?

  1. Pingback: Quality/Designation Measure (2) – South Somerset ‘get’ it – Planning Advisory Service

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