Monitoring the outcomes of planning: a research study

Discusses issues related to performance management and informs future work on developing new approaches to assessing performance in the planning system.

1. Introduction

1.1 This report documents the findings of a research project, commissioned by the Scottish Government's Directorate for Local Government and Communities, on Monitoring Outcomes from Planning. In January 2018, a consultant team led by yellow book ltd was appointed to carry out the study.

1.2 The aim of the research was "to identify how place-based outcomes from planning could be monitored to demonstrate the value added during the planning process and how the final development has resulted in an improved place". The report will inform future work on developing new approaches to assessing the performance of the planning system in Scotland. The brief also highlighted secondary objectives including:

  • identifying indicators for monitoring planning outcomes
  • exploring methods for monitoring outcomes
  • an assessment of the resources required to implement a new system.

1.3 The brief positioned the study in the context of the current Review of the Scottish Planning System. It cited the independent panel's recommendation that there should be "a move towards monitoring outcomes from planning, rather than focusing only on procedures". This recommendation was explored in the January 2017 Places, People and Planning consultation document and the brief notes that "there was very strong support from stakeholders for a focus on quality of decisions and outcomes as a measure of performance as well as the time taken to reach a decision".

1.4 Monitoring the outcomes of planning is one element of a broad-based performance management system. It was agreed that, while this report should focus on monitoring outcomes, it should also scope out the wider context which includes monitoring activities and outputs as well as evaluating medium to long-term impacts.

1.5 This report is in eight sections, including this introduction:

  • Section 2 describes our methodology and work programme
  • Section 3 puts the study in the context of the review of the Scottish planning system
  • Section 4 introduces the so-called Scottish approach to outcomes-based performance management ( OBPM)
  • Section 5 discusses the application of OBPM to the planning system
  • Section 6 introduces a performance management framework ( PMF) for the Scottish planning system
  • Section 7 discusses the implementation of the PMF, focusing on monitoring outcomes but also addressing evaluation and feedback
  • Section 8 contains a summary of our key findings and conclusions.

1.6 There are three annexes:


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