Planning and architecture business plan 2017 to 2018: midyear report

The in year review of the Planning and Architecture Division's 2017 to 2018 business plan.


Planning and Architecture Division's 2017-18 Business Plan sets out our key business priorities and how we will work to support the Scottish Government's 2017-18 Programme for Government and deliver our vision for a world class planning system to support inclusive economic growth and create great places for people and communities.

This In Year Review is designed to take stock of how we have progressed delivery of that plan up to November 2017 and to highlight the key achievements, milestones and priorities for the remainder of the reporting year. It also includes information about corporate performance:

Key achievements

In delivering Scottish Ministers' statutory responsibilities and policies we have:

To manage delivery of the 2017 Programme for Government commitments for Planning reform to unlock opportunities for development and housing supply, support inclusive growth and infrastructure investment we:

To help deliver the wider implementation of the Programme for Government commitments by providing Planning and other specialist support we have:

To manage delivery of other Ministerial commitments:

  • following the development of the Place Standard assessment tool :
    • The Place Standard implementation group published a Year 1 evaluation report in May 2017. This estimated that the Place Standard had at reached over 11,000 individuals in Scotland, with application being reported across 22 local authorities
    • Were awarded with the RTPI Award for Planning Excellence in the 'Planning for Wellbeing' category.
    • Delivered the Place Alliance Event in June and published the Edinburgh Locality Plan pilot.
    • Delivered a Place Standard master-class in September 2017 to the World Health Organisation WHO Healthy Cities Network during their visit to Edinburgh. The tool was also used at a City Link festival in Copenhagen in September.
  • launched a Green Infrastructure map in September 2017
  • launched the Making Places community-led design fund in September
  • overseen delivery of training for planning authorities on minerals extraction
  • co-ordinated actions arising from the 2017 Agriculture and Planning Summit
  • Overseen continued growth in the use of the service – the service continues to be extremely popular across the country, with over 30,000 registered users of the service and some 161,000 submissions made through the ePlanning and eBuildingStandards portals since their respective launches in 2016. Approximately 80% of planning permission applications and around two-thirds of building warrant applications were submitted via the portals in Q4 2016/17.
  • organised and presented on NPF3 at the Arctic Circle Assembly, Reykjavik, and hosted study visits involving delegations from Hong Kong and Iceland
  • Provided regulatory advice in relation to the programme of research and consultation on unconventional oil and gas (UOG). We have also written to Planning Authorities to confirm that the Planning Direction of 2015 remains in force which means that we will use our planning powers to ensure that UOG applications are considered in line with our position of not supporting UOG
  • Supported the RIAS Andrew Doolan Awards Ceremony in November to highlight the world class quality of new design in Scotland
  • Hosted the 2017 Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning (SAQP) in November to celebrate the achievements of the Planning system, linking partnership in place
  • Hosted the November meeting of Heads of Planning Scotland in November to update on progress of Planning reform including what Planning can do to support Housing delivery and inclusive economic growth
  • As part of the Scotland + Venice partnership, we appointed a curatorial team to develop and deliver a project to represent Scotland at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.
  • Worked with Transport Scotland to establish a stakeholder working group to develop guidance on Inclusive Design

We have also published the following guidance and advice notes:

Corporate Performance (as at end October)

  • FOI – 13/14 responses were issued on time, including two internal reviews (92%). The late response was due to an administrative oversight.
  • PQs – 22/24 responses were issued on time (92%). One of these late responses was outwith the control of our officials
  • MACCs – 358/382 responses were issued on time (94%). Fifteen of the late responses were outwith the control of our officials
  • Payment Performance 136/136 were issued on time (100%)

Key priorities for the remainder of 2017-18 are:

  • Introduce a Planning Bill by the end of 2017 and support progress through the Parliament
  • Manage external consultants' progress with the sustainability appraisal into potential extensions to permitted development rights
  • Publish PAD Planning Performance Framework for 2016/17 to provide a toolkit of indicators to assess and help improve performance
  • Initiate the development of Scotland's Fourth National Planning Framework by publishing the NPF3 monitoring report and establishing a new collaborative approach to NPF4
  • Undertake international engagement including the Arctic Circle Forum in Edinburgh (November) and a study visit to Denmark focusing on district heating.
  • Complete SPZ pilots and report how the new systems can be applied in practice
  • Commission research to explore the relationship between planning and the food environment.
  • Sharing of lead practice in development planning.
  • Provide feedback to authorities on their Planning Performance Frameworks
  • Commission research on monitoring outcomes by end 2017 to help improve performance.
  • Finalise updated guidance on compulsory purchase for acquiring authorities to improve understanding of the powers available to them and the processes involved.
  • Promote the sharing of best practice and experience among acquiring authorities and wider CPO professionals, including hosting a conference to bring practitioners together in December and publishing a series of case studies.
  • Publish a register of all CPO cases considered by Scottish Ministers to promote awareness of where and how compulsory purchase has been used to deliver projects in the public interest
  • Identify a programme to support skills development in collaboration with other key stakeholders
  • Deliver a suite of further improvements to the service by end of 2017/18 (Developments C – Idox changes, D – General portal changes and E – additional portal updates)
  • Completing research into possible expansion of the service including development of a national case handling transformation system; setting out a business case; obtaining Local Authority buy-in; and presenting the findings to the Senior Management Group
  • Completion of the Discovery phase by the Digital Taskforce and commencement of the Inform phase by the end of 2017-18; working towards the development of a Digital Strategy for Planning later in 2018
  • Host the Student Design Competition in March 2018 underlining our commitment to the Year of Young People.
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