Scotland Performs Update

Scottish Government performance information

National Outcome: We live in well-designed, sustainable places where we are able to access the amenities and services we need

Reforming the Planning System


  • The project delivers a programme of Planning reform, including introducing a Bill by end of 2017, to create great places for people and communities and to ensure that Scotland’s planning system realises its full potential.
  • The reforms set out in Places, People and Planning (the consultation on the future of the Scottish planning system) are designed to achieve good quality development and strengthen the planning system’s contribution to inclusive growth, housing and infrastructure delivery and empowering communities delivering four key planning outcomes:
    • Delivering successful sustainable places
    • Supporting economic growth
    • Regeneration
    • Creation of well-designed places.


  • The overall Planning budget is £1.68m.
  • £600,000 is focused primarily on research and other work to inform the Planning Bill.
  • Other spend includes supporting public participation in planning, supporting the regeneration of our places through community-led design, the development of Scotland’s Fourth National Planning Framework and the programme of digital transformation.


  • On schedule to introduce a Planning Bill, informed by extensive research and stakeholder engagement, by end of 2017. The proposed changes to how the planning system would work in practice have been set out.
  • Implementation of the Place Standard tool, which won a Royal Town Planning Institute Excellence Award in ‘Planning for Wellbeing’ in June 2017, to help communities assess the quality of new and existing places to maximise the potential of physical/social assets.
  • Core funding for the charity Planning Aid for Scotland ( PAS) who provide a unique service ensuring that Planning and other services are available to support hard to reach groups.
  • Funding the ‘Making Places’ initiative which focuses on design proposals to tackle inequalities.
  • Launching a Self Build Challenge Fund to promote alternative housing delivery models.

Key partners

  • The 34 Planning Authorities
  • Heads of Planning Scotland
  • Architecture & Design Scotland
  • PAS
  • Royal Town Planning Institute
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors
  • Homes for Scotland
  • Scottish Property Federation.


  • The Planning Bill is the principal vehicle of reforming the Planning system which has been ongoing since 2015 with the appointment of the independent Planning Review Panel.
  • Officials are managing delivery but modest funding has resourced independent research, stakeholder workstreams and expert input to progress an extensive programme of consultation, engagement and co-production—enabling the introduction of the Planning Bill in December 2017.
  • The six themed working groups (Development Planning, Infrastructure, Housing, Development Management, Leadership Resourcing & Skills, and Community Engagement) include representatives from industry, the planning and related professions, local government and agencies and community representatives, who have been instrumental in developing a cohesive programme of reform.
  • The proposed provisions of the Planning Bill have been well signposted as a result of intensive engagement and will be understood by partners and stakeholders.
  • Officials have benefited from the support of Heads of Planning Scotland’s project manager to act as a critical friend on reforming the programme and the development of the Bill.

Contribution to National Outcomes

  • The four key planning outcomes A successful sustainable place; A low carbon place; A natural resilient place; and A connected place reflect the variety of outcomes Planning helps to deliver.
  • The environmental effects of the Planning Bill are also being assessed.
  • Work continues on associated marine, climate change, and transport policies.
  • A review of the National Planning Framework will begin in 2018—the spatial expression of Scotland’s Economic Strategy setting out the long-term vision for development/investment—the vehicle for putting together all relevant National Outcomes and applying them spatially to Scotland as a place.

The project contributes towards other National Outcomes, such as:

  • We live in a Scotland that is the most attractive place for doing business in Europe.
  • We have strong, resilient and supportive communities where people take responsibility for their own actions and how they affect others.
  • We value and enjoy our built environment and protect it and enhance it for future generations.


Back to top