Planning and Architecture business plan 2016 to 2017

The Planning and Architecture Division business plan for 2016 to 2017.

Our vision

Our vision is for a high performing planning system that supports inclusive economic growth and creates high quality places for the benefit of all of Scotland's communities. Our planning system should deliver the four Key Planning Outcomes to support the National Outcomes:

  • a successful sustainable place – supporting economic growth, regeneration and the creation of well-designed places
  • a low carbon place – reducing our carbon emissions and adapting to climate change
  • a natural resilient place – helping to protect and enhance our natural cultural assets and facilitating their sustainable use
  • a connected place – supporting better transport and digital connectivity

These key outcomes underpin the five strategic objectives to help make Scotland wealthier and fairer, smarter, healthier, safer and stronger and greener and are central to the aspirations and commitments set out in our three key policy statements:

We provide cross cutting support for a range of policy areas in the Scottish Government including energy, housing, transport, infrastructure investment and community empowerment. Our key Ministerial engagement is with the Minister for Local Government and Housing on planning and the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs on architecture.

The 2016-17 Programme for Government recognises the critical role of the planning system in supporting inclusive growth and investment and creating great places. It underlines the importance of a high performing system to housing and infrastructure delivery and the quality of life of all our communities through promoting quality of place and the public interest.

Key business priorities

We will support the Programme for Government and Manifesto commitments through:

1. Responding to the recommendations of the review of the planning system in Scotland with a new programme of planning reform Empowering planning to deliver great places. We will structure this programme of work through the six key themes of the Planning Review:

  • strong and flexible development plans
  • the delivery of more high quality homes
  • an infrastructure first approach to planning and development
  • efficient and transparent development management
  • atronger leadership, smarter resourcing and sharing of skills
  • collaboration, inclusion and empowerment

2. Consulting on a White Paper and then introducing a Planning Bill early in the Parliamentary term; taking forward the 2016 Programme for Government commitment to modernise Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPO) to ensure that vacant and derelict land can be brought into use for communities through developing options for a new approach to CPO informed by wider policy issues, e.g. Land Reform; and bringing forward a pilot programme on Simplified Planning Zones (SPZ) as set out in the Programme for Government.

We will also:

3. Continue the programme of Digital transformation through:

  • managing the e-Planning online service
  • expanding the eDevelopment programme to e-Building standards
  • investigating options for expanding effective eService delivery
  • using digital technology to enhance our work more broadly (e.g. social media, mapping of live data etc.)

4. Support and promote the delivery of high quality places and a community led approach to planning and placemaking, as set out in Creating Places, through:

  • implementing the Place Standard and supporting the 2016-17 Charrette Programme
  • supporting the delivery of the Year of Architecture, Innovation and Design
  • promoting good practice in design and place, including events and awards such as SAQP and the RIAS Doolan Award
  • providing funding to Architecture and Design Scotland and PAS to support the delivery of our placemaking and community empowerment objectives

5. Deliver Scottish Ministers' statutory responsibilities and policies in relation to:

  • supporting the implementation of NPF3 and the SPP
  • advising Ministers on their interests and responsibilities in development planning and national planning policy
  • ensuring the role and value of planning is recognised across the Scottish Government and provide planning advice on priority policy area
  • co-ordinating transposition of the EU Directive on EIA on behalf of 8 regimes
  • delivering efficient and effective decisions on Planning and Historic Environment casework, including notified applications and called-in applications, recalled appeals, legislative orders, notices and EIA.
  • undertaking Strategic Environmental Assessment

6. Deliver Ministerial commitments to:

  • promote continuing improvement to planning performance
  • provide regulatory advice in relation to the programme of research and consultation on unconventional oil and gas.
  • address the issues arising from the collapse of the surface coal mining industry and the legacy of unfulfilled commitments to site restoration.
  • support Scotland's Economic Strategy including through the Chief Planner's brokerage, engaging with planning authorities and applicants where appropriate to help unlock development which has stalled
  • implement planning elements of the Mobile Action Plan to support world class digital connectivity.

Staffing and Resourcing

To deliver these priorities the Division has an interim allocation of £2.59 million for staffing and other direct running costs. The allocated programme budget is £3.17 million. £1.39 million is allocated to fund the NDPB, Architecture and Design Scotland. £1.78 million is allocated to deliver eDevelopment, the Planning modernisation programme, skills development, Charrettes and other Planning and Place projects

Our staff are organised into four teams:

  • The Chief Planner's team are responsible for business management, delivery of the e-Development programme and the operation of the e-Planning online shared service.
  • Architecture and Place are responsible for sponsorship of Architecture and Design Scotland, placemaking, designing streets, housing delivery, town centres and Retail, Regeneration, CPOs and land compensation, green infrastructure, community engagement including grant provision to PAS.
  • Planning Performance are responsible for development management procedures, Ministerial planning and historic environment casework, brokerage of key developments, planning performance and the transposition across the Scottish Government of the European Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • Spatial Planning, Policy and Environment are responsible for NPF3 and the SPP, development planning, environmental, energy and resource and technical support for environmental assessment.

As at 31 July our Workforce Plan had a full time equivalent of 58.5 staff.

How we work

We will continue to act as an exemplar of Scottish Government's SG2020 Vision through:

  • openness – being clear about our role and our expectations, accessible and engaged and valuing diversity
  • capability – demonstrating leadership and competence, providing a first class service to Ministers and communities and being accountable for what we do
  • responsive – being ambitious, focusing on priorities, working flexibly and innovatively and creating the conditions to maximise the impact of our work

While we will continue to work flexibly and creatively across the Scottish Government to support collaboration and sharing of resources across business areas, our people and resources will be focused on our key business priorities. Any work undertaken outside these key priorities will be cleared in advance by the Chief Planner to ensure that we continue to provide high quality but proportionate support for wider Scottish Government priorities.

We are committed to providing information clearly and concisely, and in Plain English. Briefing and advice will always be tailored to reflect the specific circumstances of the request.

We are committed to delivering equality and diversity to ensure that all our people and those we support and work with feel comfortable, valued and free to contribute their different perspectives. We will do this through:

  • our support for PAS to ensure that planning and other services are available to support hard to reach groups
  • ensuring that our strategies and services are tailored to meet the needs of diverse groups
  • encouraging inclusive participation in all forums and events
  • encouraging our people to participate in Scottish Government diversity networks and groups

We will follow Planning and Architecture's Rules of the Road to help create the conditions for our people to thrive and be successful and will continue to build capability across the wider organisation through developing our people and skills in line with our Divisional Learning Plan. This includes continuing to look for opportunities to develop young people.

Our work will be underpinned by an effective, resilient and customer focused Business Management service which is committed to:

  • manage money and assets effectively, achieving best value and satisfying the controls defined in the assurance process
  • improve our working environment and the way we work
  • plan, organise and control resources to deliver results and priorities
  • support the implementation of effective organisation change to meet the challenges of increasing commitments and reducing resources
  • providing an effective administrative support service



Telephone: 0131 244 7528

Area 2-H (South)
Planning and Architecture Division
The Scottish Government
Victoria Quay

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