Planning system - mandatory training for elected members: consultation

Mandatory training for elected members was included in the Planning (Scotland) Act 2019, alongside a package of measures to improve the performance of the planning system. This consultation is seeking views on how this could be implemented.

6. How should the training be delivered?

Who will deliver the training?

6.1 A number of different approaches could be used to deliver the training. The implementation and delivery of the training needs to take account of the resourcing pressures being faced by local authorities and should therefore avoid placing any additional unnecessary burdens on authorities.

6.2 We also want to ensure that how the training is delivered does not result in lengthy spells where elected members are awaiting to undertake training as this would result in them being unable to carry out the specified functions during that period of time and create a potential backlog in the planning system.

6.3 Some potential options have been set out below.

Option 1 - Training could be delivered in-person with the Scottish Government setting out the overarching key principles which the training should cover and it would then be up to each local authority to develop the detailed content and deliver the training.

Option 2 - Training could be delivered in-person with the Scottish Government developing the mandatory training programme and the detailed content, with each Local Authority delivering the training to the elected members in-person.

Option 3 - Training could be delivered online with the Scottish Government developing (or procuring) an online training course for elected members to access individually at a time that suits them.

Option 4 - Training could be delivered online with the Scottish Government undertaking a procurement exercise where a preferred training provider is chosen with local authorities then being required to appoint this person to facilitate the training online to their elected members.

6.4 Further work will be required to determine the scale of resource required and the best approach to undertake the delivery of the training, however our preferred approach would be for the training to be delivered online on a national scale rather than in-person. We consider this approach to be more efficient and cost-effective. This approach would also free up local authority officers to focus on providing advice and training on the policies and areas where they can add the most value. Elected members would also be able to undertake the training at a time that suits them and wouldn't be reliant on the availability of trainers. This approach would also benefit any elected members who are appointed outwith the usual committee appointment process.

Question 6: Which would be your preferred option for how the training could be delivered? (please check all that apply)

  • Option 1
  • Option 2
  • Option 3
  • Option 4
  • None of the above

Please add any comment in support of your answer

Question 7: Do you have any further comments on how the training could be delivered?


6.5 Stakeholder engagement indicated that there was strong support for the training to include a test element, as it was considered to be the most effective method to demonstrate that the content of the training has been properly understood.

6.6 We propose that if a test is to be introduced it would be undertaken in a multiple choice format, as this would deliver results promptly. The test questions would be set once the training content has been finalised and user testing with key stakeholders will be undertaken to ensure that they are pitched at the appropriate level.

6.7 If implemented, the test would also require a certain number of questions to be answered correctly in order to pass to ensure that those undertaking the training have a general understanding of what they have been taught. We would propose that the test would be allowed to be retaken until a pass is achieved.

Question 8: Should there be a requirement for elected members to have passed a test before being allowed to undertake a planning decision?


Please add any comment in support of your answer

Duration and Timing of Training

6.8 The time taken to complete the training should not place an unnecessary burden on elected members. The time taken will also depend upon whether the training is conducted in-person or online, how often the training needs to be taken and the breadth of content to be covered.

  • In-person: The length of time would likely be either a 'half day' or 'full day' to account for questions and discussions.
  • Online: The length of time would likely be no more than 3 hours in total.

6.9 As with all training, there are benefits to ensuring that the knowledge gained is maintained. We could require that elected members after a certain time period have to retake the training in full or undertake refresher training (e.g. if a test is included, retake the test only rather than full training) to continue to be allowed to carry out their specified planning functions.

Question 9: How often should elected members be required to retake the training?

Please tick

  • once every year
  • once every election cycle
  • training should not need to be retaken
  • Other

Please add any comment in support of your answer



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