Planning Aid for Scotland funding: EIR release

Information request and response under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004


Information requested

Information on funding provided by the Scottish Government to the charity Planning Aid for Scotland.

1. Whether the funding given to Planning Aid for Scotland is provided under certain statutory powers (and if so, please identify the statutory powers - e.g. the Scottish Ministers’ grant-making powers under S253A of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997).

2. Details of all funding given to Planning Aid for Scotland for the period 1 January 2017 until the present date.

3. Any terms and conditions attached to the funding provided to Planning Aid for Scotland for the above period.

4. Whether there is a tendering process and any competition for the funding which is given to Planning Aid for Scotland.

5. If there is no tendering process or competition for the funding, any reasons why the Scottish Government has adopted this position.

Response

As the information you have requested is ‘environmental information’ for the purposes of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (EIRs), we are required to deal with your request under those Regulations.

We are applying the exemption at section 39(2) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), so that we do not also have to deal with your request under FOISA. This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption, because there is no public interest in dealing with the same request under two different regimes. This is essentially a technical point and has no material effect on the outcome of your request.

I include a copy of all of the information you requested. The enclosed table below is in response to your second request.

Year

Funding

Funding (£s)

2016-17

Core grant (1)

60,000

2017-18

Core grant

253,000

2017-18

Aspiring Communities Fund

31,791

2017-19

PAS Youth Volunteer Programme and Bridging the Gap Project

133,017

2018-19

Core grant

300,000

2019-20

Core grant

350,000

2019-20

Development of guidance on mediation in the Scottish planning system (2)

4,725

2020-21

Core grant

310,000

2020-21

PAS NPF4 Youth Engagement

14, 875

2020-21

Community engagement on the NPF4 position statement

6,000

2021-22

Core grant

300,000

2021-22

Case Management System upgrade

16,500

2021-22

NPF4 facilitation

3,000

2022-23

Core grant (3)

81,000

(1) Covers time period before 1 January 2017
(2) Project work jointly proposed with Scottish Mediation
(3) Covers time period from 1 April 2022 to 21 June 2022

The answers to your questions 1., 3., 4. and 5. are set out below

1. Whether the funding given to Planning Aid for Scotland is provided under certain statutory powers (and if so, please identify the statutory powers - e.g. the Scottish Ministers’ grant-making powers under S253A of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997).
We can confirm that the Scottish Ministers rely on statutory powers relevant to the purpose of the particular grant.

Where the grants relate to planning matters, this is under section 253A of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, as amended. However, Ministers have also used powers under section 126 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996 where those powers more specifically relate to the grant’s purpose.

3. Any terms and conditions attached to the funding provided to Planning Aid for Scotland for the above period.
Terms and conditions are contained within each grant letter and reflect the purpose of each individual grant. In addition, they also reflect changes in the Scottish Government’s standard grant letter. Copies of the terms and conditions for each of the grants are attached.

4. Whether there is a tendering process and any competition for the funding which is given to Planning Aid for Scotland.
There is currently no tendering or competition process for the grant funding allocated to the advice service.

5. If there is no tendering process or competition for the funding, any reasons why the Scottish Government has adopted this position.
The Scottish Government has funded the advice service of PAS (formerly known as Planning Aid for Scotland) to some extent since the early 2000s. The PAS advice service supports communities across Scotland through the provision of information and free advice on planning and environmental matters. A number of local authority websites also reference services which are supported by the Scottish Government grant. These include Angus, City of Edinburgh, Dundee, Inverclyde and West Lothian.

There are additionally two important elements: the independent nature of PAS is such that it provides information / advice rather than advocacy. And the Government has been supportive of PAS’s model of using volunteer planners to provide the service. This model was recognised as a case study in Volunteering for All: Our National Framework published in 2019.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

EIR 202200307057 - Information Released - Annex A

EIR 202200307057 - Information Released - Annex B

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG

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