Headlines: July 21st, 1999

The Planning Officers Society has scored a ‘first’ with a website that supports learning about best value. The innovative site at http://www.barnsley.gov.uk/planning/home.html displays four draft chapters of a guide which will be finalised early next year.

The best value regime goes live in eight months and all councils and other authorities such as police and fire brigades will have to comply with statutory requirements. The site gives useful information about planning for best value, with a particular focus on getting started. What is novel about the development is its evolutionary nature. Ideas and suggestions are invited from anyone who has something to contribute and there will be a progressive build up of knowledge.

Best value is an unknown quantity and an untried method of achieving greater effectiveness and efficiency. There are no textbooks or experts, but some have developed an expertise further than others. The site provides an opportunity for learning to be shared cheaply and easily. Logging on periodically will be a way to keep in touch with developments.