How We Work
Under the procedures that apply to planning appeals, the reporter will decide what further procedure, if any, is necessary once the grounds of appeal, response by the planning authority and representations by interested parties have been received. For this reason, it is our practice to allocate appeals at an early stage. The reporter considers the submissions made by the various parties to the appeal and decides whether any further procedure is necessary. If a site inspection is to take place the reporter decides whether this will take place on an accompanied or unaccompanied basis. In more complex cases a pre-examination meeting may be held before the reporter takes a final view on how the appeal should be conducted. If hearing or inquiry sessions are needed these will normally be restricted to the issues or matters specified by the reporter.
Each of our cases has a dedicated caseworker responsible for the management of the case’s documentation, issuing letters on behalf of the reporter, and acting as a point of contact for parties to the case.
With development plan examinations it is our practice to appoint a lead reporter who has overall responsibility for the conduct of the examination. Depending on the number of unresolved representations one or more additional reporters may be appointed to assist with the examination.
Websites And Electronic Submissions Of Appeals
For information about the work of DPEA, forms for submitting appeals, guidance on procedure, previous annual reviews, how to contact us, how to make a complaint or let us have feedback please go to our planning and environmental appeals pages on the Scottish Government website. Forms and guidance for submitting appeals are also available at mygov.scot.
We publish the vast majority of documentation for all cases that we handle on our dedicated casework website, dpea.scotland.gov.uk, and all documentation in live cases is available on the site. The aim of the website is to increase openness and improve the transparency of the appeals process. All papers that are in front of the decision maker are available for all parties or members of the public to view via this website.
There is also a registered users option on the website that gives access to the DPEA Portal which works in much the same way but also allows users to set up alerts for new cases, new documents, new decisions etc. Please refer to our guides on how to use the website and the DPEA Portal, our case file publication protocol, and our policy on publication and data protection.
The proportion of appeals submitted electronically either through the online eDevelopment portal or by email has increased slightly from 93% to 94%.
We use a case administration system, known as the DPEA Portal or CMS, to record all case details, including the documents associated with each case and parties involved in them. We issued 49,215 emails plus 6,899 letters via the system for the 834 cases being dealt with in 2022/23.
Webcasting And Virtual Meetings
The webcasting of pre-examination meetings, hearings and inquiries has continued in 2022/23. Virtual procedures were vital to ensuring that DPEA processes could proceed during COVID and remain an option for procedures moving forward. We have also held our first hybrid inquiry, allowing for parties to appear at in person inquiries remotely, ensuring our procedures are accessible to all.
We have provided coverage of procedures in 58 cases. We have had 39,041 visitors to the site who have collectively watched 4,223 hours of webcasts. Live viewings of events remain high as we continue to see a high level of engagement with procedures being webcast.
Webcasting will continue to be an important part of the service provided by the DPEA and we will endeavour to try and cover as many events as possible.
For a number of years reporters have been working with electronic files rather than using paper files when dealing with written submissions. It is also now the norm rather than the exception that reporters will conduct hearings and inquiries using electronic files. Feedback from reporters in this regard continues to be positive. We will continue to look at ways to ensure that parties attending hearing or inquiry sessions can better follow the proceedings.
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