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mail us tiny 20 Suzanne Stephen
telephone tiny 20 0131 244 7148

Area 2-H (South)
Planning & Architecture Division,
The Scottish Government
Victoria Quay

Processing Agreements

Planning Processing Agreements

A processing agreement is a project management tool for a planning application. Processing agreements can be used to set out the key processes involved in determining an application, identify what information is required, and from whom, and set the timescales for the delivery of various stages of the process.

Processing agreements can deliver a number of benefits including:

  • Greater transparency in decision-making for everyone involved in the process
  • Greater predictability and certainty over the timing of key stages
  • Faster decision-making
  • Clearer lines of communication between authority and applicant
  • More effective and earlier engagement of key stakeholders

We expect authorities to use processing agreements for all major applications. We also encourage authorities to use processing agreements for complex local developments or local developments which are likely to prove contentious within smaller communities.

Benefits of using Processing Agreements – Report (April 2015)

The Scottish Government has actively promoted the use of processing agreements since 2012.  We have recently published a report on the benefits of using processing agreements which provides a review of the progress made and highlights the benefits and practical consideration of their use.  It is supplemented by the findings of a survey of planning authorities, applicants and agents which was undertaken during Autumn 2014.

The findings of the report should be used by planning authorities, applicants and developers to consider how uptake in the use of processing agreements can be increased further.

Processing Agreement Template

The Scottish Government has prepared a processing agreement template with the assistance of City of Edinburgh Council and Aberdeen City Council.

The template provides a framework that authorities can adapt to suit their individual needs. However, they should clearly specify timescales; supporting information requirements and matters to be addressed by legal agreement.

Please remember that the preparation of a processing agreement should not be time consuming. The content should be brief and timings realistic. The key agencies should also be involved where relevant.