Planning system - mandatory training for elected members: consultation analysis

Analysis of the responses from the public consultation on mandatory training in planning for elected members

1. Introduction


This report summarises responses to the recent Scottish Government consultation on mandatory training on planning for elected members.

The consultation sought views on the latest in a series of policy proposals developed in response to the 2016 review of the Scottish planning system, and subsequent Planning (Scotland) Act 2019. The Act included mandatory training for elected members as part of a package of measures designed to improve the effectiveness of the planning system as a whole. Once in force, Section 45 of the Act will prohibit elected members from carrying out certain planning functions if they have not completed the required training – the specific planning functions affected and training requirements that elected members must meet will be set out in subsequent regulations.

The consultation

The consultation opened on 13 July 2023 and closed on 26 October 2023. It asked 13 questions of which 9 have both 'closed' and 'open' elements, the remaining four questions being entirely open. The questions address various aspects of the proposed approach to mandatory training including the planning functions to which mandatory training requirements should apply, the focus of training content, how training should be delivered, and how the impact of training should be monitored.

The consultation paper is available here on the Scottish Government's website.

Profile of responses

In total 120 consultation responses were received, of which 77 were from groups or organisations and 43 from individual members of the public. Where consent has been given to publish the response, it may be found at Mandatory training on planning for elected members - Scottish Government consultations - Citizen Space.

A breakdown of the number of responses received by respondent type is set out in Table 1, and a full list of group respondents appended to this report at Annex 1.

Table 1 – Respondents by type

Type of respondent



Planning authority


Other public body


Planning or other professional


Private sector – developer


Private sector – energy/renewables


Private sector – other


Third sector - community councils/representative group


Third sector – other






All respondents


Analysis and reporting

The report presents a question-by-question analysis of answers to the closed questions and further comments at open questions. Both the proportion of respondents answering closed questions and the number providing written comment varied from question to question, and this is noted in the body of the report. Non-response has been excluded from the analysis of closed questions.

As with any public consultation exercise, it should be noted that those responding generally have a particular interest in the subject area. Therefore, the views they express cannot necessarily be seen as representative of wider public opinion.



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