Headlines: October 3rd, 2001

Best Value may have had some bad reviews in some quarters, (See Publicnet Briefing of Tuesday, October 2) but there’s a new claim that it is working to drive up delivery among the worst performing planning authorities.New figures show 12 of the worst 15 authorities have started improving their performance, following Best Value performance standards introduced in April. These required 15 authorities at the bottom of the performance league to process at least 65 per cent of planning applications within eight weeks.

Twelve of these have now been shown to make rapid improvement, some almost doubling the amount of applications they process within the eight-week target.

Oxford, Restormel and Lambeth are nowhere near achieving the targets, and consultants Arup have been asked by the government to look into what steps poor performers can take to make them improve.

Their brief is to examine what it is about the Best Value standards that has prompted change and recommend how they could be implemented at the remaining three councils lagging behind.

Continued failure by the three councils concerned could trigger government intervention. At its extreme this could involve transfer of planning responsibility to another provider.

Link: www.dtlr.gov.uk