A new RTPI survey has revealed that the council home planning role has been left to lower positions in local authorities across the UK.
The study found that a member of the top management team was ahead of planning in only 17% of all UK councils despite the fact that planning is a statutory function like education and social services.
Anecdote suggests that councillors are more apt to listen when planning advice comes from a senior member of the chief executive’s team. However, 83% of councils place planning up to three tiers below the chief executive, downplaying its importance as a function that helps councils deal with economic, social, and environmental issues.
The RTPI says that the effectiveness of council home planning is also negatively impacted when decisions are made separately from other policy areas.
RTPI Chief Executive Victoria Hills said that planning can deliver nearly all focus areas in a council’s corporate strategy. She urged more council chief executives to implement the right structure so that leaders can make important decisions from a well-rounded perspective.
Ms Hills pointed out that Brexit, tight resources, and other challenges make it especially important that councils include planners in their corporate decision-making so that their ability to make complex spending decisions is maximized. All too often, connected thinking is absent, with investment decisions being made without a wider perspective that could result in positive growth outcomes.