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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

Performance & Service Improvement

An efficient and well-functioning planning service plays an important role in facilitating sustainable economic growth and delivering high quality development in the right places. Regular monitoring of service performance and a commitment to improve are essential to achieving this.

Planning Authority Performance Statistics

Quarterly and annual statistics are published by the Scottish Government. These relate primarily to average decision-making timescales for planning and other applications by Scotland's planning authorities. They also provide information on approval rates for applications, local reviews and enforcement activity.

Planning Performance Framework

A new planning performance framework was introduced by planning authorities in 2012. Developed by Heads of Planning Scotland, and supported by the Scottish Government, the framework captures key elements of a high-performing planning service, such as:

  • speed of decision-making
  • certainty of timescales, process and advice
  • delivery of good quality development
  • project management
  • clear communications and open engagement
  • an overall ‘open for business’ attitude

The framework gives a balanced measurement of the overall quality of the planning service and will be used to drive a culture of continuous improvement.

All planning authorities, strategic development plan authorities and seven key agencies prepare a Planning Performance Framework (PPF) report on an annual basis and receive feedback from the Scottish Government.  PPF reports contain both qualitative and quantitative elements of performance and set out proposals for service improvement.   They  also report on a set of Performance Markers which were agreed by the High Level Group on Planning Performance in 2013 . PPF reports are generally available on planning authority’s planning web pages and the Heads of Planning Scotland website.

The Scottish Government’s Planning and Architecture Division also prepares a PPF report annually.  The Directorate for Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) produces a Review of the Year.

Annual Performance Reports and Improvement Plans

The Scottish Government has summarised the information contained in the individual authority reports and this can be found in the Planning Performance Annual Report 2014/15.  

Previous reports are also available below:

High Level Group on Performance

To support improved planning performance across the country a High Level Group on Planning Performance was established in 2013. The group comprises members from Scottish Government, Heads of Planning Scotland, the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, the Society of Lawyers and Administrators in Scotland and the Royal Town Planning Institute. The remit of the group includes supporting improved planning performance and linking performance with planning fees.

Linking Planning Performance to Planning Application Fees

Section 55 of the Regulatory Reform (Scotland) Act commenced on June 30, 2014.  It provides Scottish Ministers with powers to vary the planning application fee payable to different planning authorities where the functions of a planning authority are not being, or have not been, satisfactorily performed.  The High Level Group are currently considering the process that would be used to determine which authorities have not satisfactorily performed.