Planning and Architecture business plan 2017 to 2018

The Planning and Architecture division business plan for 2017 to 2018.

Our Vision

Scotland needs a world class planning system to support inclusive economic growth and create great places for people and communities. The Scottish Government is currently leading a major programme of reform to make planning more innovative and creative, leading change and delivering good quality development contributing to the National Outcomes through achieving four key planning outcomes:

  • 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 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:

The 2017 Programme for Government recognises the importance of planning reform to deliver investment in infrastructure and new quality homes for the well-being, safety and resilience of Scotland's communities. We also support a range of other commitments within the Programme for Government and we ensure that the Place agenda is at the heart of what we do

This year's business plan brings together our programme of planning reform with ongoing statutory responsibilities and work to support wider Scottish Government policies and programmes.

Key Business Priorities

We will lead the delivery of the following Scottish Ministers' statutory responsibilities and policies:

  • achieving the four key planning outcomes for the operation of the Planning system and development and use of land through implementing Scotland's National Planning Framework and Scottish Planning Policy
  • finalising the transposition of the Environmental Impact Assessment EU Directive 2014/52/EU on behalf of 8 regimes by EU deadline of 16 May 2017
  • delivering efficient and effective decisions on Planning & Historic environment casework within statutory deadlines and targets
  • undertaking cost-effective in-house Strategic Environmental Assessment to gauge the likely impact on the environment of any plans, programmes or strategies
  • sponsorship and governance of A+DS, making the very best of resources to help support the delivery of high quality place-making that helps people and communities flourish
  • approving strong and flexible development plans to ensure that we secure the right developments in the right places for our communities

We will manage the delivery of the 2017 Programme for Government commitments for Planning reform to support inclusive growth and investment through:

  • implementing the next phase of Planning reform and introduce a Planning Bill by the end of 2017 which takes account of the consultation Places, People, Planning and will:

    • unlock opportunities for the delivery of the development and housing Scotland needs with the infrastructure to support it
    • deliver a simpler, more effective system of development plans to set a clearer view of how areas will develop in the future
    • improve procedures for preparing plans
    • allow greater opportunities for people and communities to influence the future of their areas
  • We will also continue to progress our wider programme of reform through the following actions:

    • working with the Digital Taskforce to build on our existing eDevelopment services
    • reviewing the National Planning Framework (NPF) and Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) to strengthen the alignment with wider strategies and programmes
    • promoting the use of new powers to restrict the over-provision of betting shops and payday lenders on our high streets
    • exploring the relationship between planning and the food environment
    • ensure that Planning reforms allow Permitted Development Rights to create favourable conditions for investment
  • In addition, we will take forward the following package of measures to regenerate and create better places for communities:

    • modernising compulsory purchase orders to ensure vacant and derelict land can be brought into use in our communities
    • diversifying how we can deliver homes including supporting the increased production of self-build and custom-build homes, expanding the options available and providing more flexibility for homeowners and the construction industry
    • developing a new approach to Simplified Planning Zones (SPZs)
    • support greater delivery of rural housing stock by consulting on permitting the conversion of existing farm buildings to form new homes as part of a comprehensive analysis of scope for permitted development rights

We will contribute to the implementation of wider Programme for Government commitments by providing Planning and other specialist support to help:

  • deliver at least 50,000 affordable new homes over the lifetime of this Parliament
  • build future proofed, high quality digital public services and exploring opportunities through working across boundaries to deliver services customers want to engage with
  • deliver Scotland's Climate Change Plan to reduce emissions over the 2020s and early 2030s. Deliver Scotland's Energy Efficiency Programme to transform the energy efficiency and heating of our and decarbonise heat provision in the long term as a national infrastructure priority
  • improve the life experience and life chances of our children and young people, so they can thrive and be equipped to take advantage of tomorrow's opportunities
  • inform evidence based decisions about unconventional extraction of Oil and Gas in Scotland
  • deliver the three strategic outcomes for transport to ensure that transport plays its full part in creating a sustainable economy
  • Scotland's aquaculture industry achieve Growth targets by 2030 while protecting our marine environment
  • secure equality and empowerment for our island communities
  • restore vacant and derelict land including Scottish opencast coalfield sites
  • enhance Scotland's reputation on the world stage through promoting Scotland as a leader in planning, architecture and design of great places (e.g. through effective collaboration with our partners, showcasing what we do and participation in events such as the Venice Architecture Biennale)
  • ensuring that our work supports National Performance Framework targets to improve the quality of life of everyone in Scotland

We will manage the delivery of the following Ministerial commitments:

  • implementing Creating Places to maximise the opportunities design can play in delivering: better health, environmental targets, inward investment and raising Scotland's international profile across the globe
  • implementing the Place Standard and delivery of the 2017-18 community led design programme, harnessing the knowledge of communities and encouraging active participation in the design process
  • we will also continue our programme of improvement to unlock development through Chief Planner brokerage
  • improved practice in surface coal mine restoration
  • an ambitious programme of digital transformation, led by a Ministerial taskforce, to create a world class digital planning service in Scotland
  • operating a front line digital shared service for eDevelopment on behalf of all local and planning authorities, including a major package of legislative change and service improvements in summer 2017
  • eDevelopment service expansion programme exploring additional consents and national casework system development
  • more effective engagement between the Farming and Planning sectors to support 'a working countryside', and the need to promote the benefits of rural housing
  • core funding and governance of the charity PAS who play a unique role working with communities and hard to reach groups Scotland to support participation in Planning and place-making
  • deliver the 2017 Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning and RIAS Doolan Award (and other awards) to showcase best practice in design and place and promote the value of creating great places
  • ensuring that Planning advice maximises the opportunities to support sustainable economic growth, housing and infrastructure delivery and the quality of our places
  • achieve Freedom of Information and Environmental Information targets to support our reputation for open and accessible government Scotland

Staffing and Resourcing

To deliver these priorities the Division was allocated is £3.175m in the 2016 spending review settlement. £1.39m is allocated to fund the NDPB, Architecture and Design Scotland. £1.68m is allocated to deliver the programme of Planning modernisation, skills development, community led design and other Planning and Place projects including increasing public participation. The Division has been allocated £2.67m for staff and associated costs. As of 1 May our Workforce Plan had a full time equivalent of 60 staff including 3 people on career breaks

We 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 online shared service
  • Architecture and Place are responsible for Sponsorship of Architecture & Design Scotland, Place-making, Designing Streets, Housing delivery, Town Centres and Retail, Regeneration, CPOs and land compensation, green infrastructure and 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, development and coordination of the Planning Bill and the transposition across the Scottish Government of the European Directive on Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Spatial Planning, Policy and Environment are responsible for Scotland's National Planning Framework and the Scottish Planning Policy, Development Planning, environment, energy and resource planning policy and technical support for environmental assessment

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

We will also work with the Directorate for People and others to build the capacity of our people to create an environment and culture which promotes fairness, wellbeing and helps our people to thrive and succeed in alignment with the People Strategy. We are committed to positive leadership and consistent managerial behaviour which supports our people while developing and empowering successful individuals and teams to deliver positive outcomes via a clear golden thread from business priorities to personal objectives

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 SG Diversity networks and groups

We will follow PAD'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 support and develop young people. We will also fully engage in the Smarter Workplaces programme, taking advantage of opportunities for new and better ways of working through the use of technology and other facilities.

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

  • implementing effective workforce and business planning, organising and controlling resources to deliver outcomes and priorities
  • manage money and assets effectively, achieving best value and satisfying assurance controls
  • achieve our SG 2020 aspirations of improving our working environment and the way we work through focusing on our People, Workplace and Performance & Priorities
  • effective corporate and external engagement, promoting the value of what we do
  • delivering effective administrative support



Telephone: 0131 244 7528

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

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