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Still time to book for Edinburgh workshops in November - 29/09/15

The Autumn section of the 2015 Training Workshop Programme for Scotland kicked off in Glasgow earlier this month with three workshops all running at almost full capacity, and all of which received some very positive feedback.

The next batch of workshops in this programme will be in Edinburgh on 5 November 2015. Places are currently still available on all these events if you are interested in attending:

  • Negotiation Skills: the key to achieving planning goals and objectives
    Almost every day, planning, enforcement and other ‘environmental’ staff within local planning authorities engage in some form of negotiation. Often these negotiations, whether they are with developers, agents, the public or even their colleagues, are carried out without any clear understanding of the principles and techniques involved. Yet having an awareness of both principles and techniques, coupled with experience, can make a formidable difference to an officer’s effectiveness.  This workshop focuses on persuasion and influencing skills; when to negotiate and when not to; approaches to negotiation; “tricks” and techniques; power and the personality dimensions. The workshop combines theories with working references from the experience of participants.
  • Advertisement Control
    Advertisement control is an increasingly important yet often misunderstood part of the planning regime. The present Scottish Advertisement Regulations came into force in 1984 and have remained substantially unaltered. This workshop provides a clear insight into the complexities of the Regulations using real life examples at each stage. The workshop will be of benefit to development management, enforcement and support officers. Specific aspects covered include: what is an advertisement; advertisements not covered by the Regulations; deemed and express consents; Areas of Special Control; advertisement enforcement and flyposting.
  • Harnessing the Potential of Support Staff: an essential step towards improved planning performance
    Performance improvement is high on the agenda for all planning authorities, and Development Managers constantly need to be looking for ways to make their service both more effective and efficient, often with diminishing resources.  One key staff resource that is often over-looked or under-utilised is the contribution that can be made by knowledgeable and well-trained technical and support staff. This recently developed, practice-based workshop for key technical and support staff aims to help them develop their roles and responsibilities in crucial areas of development management by both increasing their knowledge-base and boosting their confidence in their abilities. It focuses on the practical issues of reading plans and validating applications, and determining publicity, notifications and consultations for all the different types of planning as well as advertisement and listed building consent applications. It will employ a variety of techniques but the emphasis will be on working through practical examples. Group working will offer an opportunity to network and compare processes in other authorities.

Further details and booking forms for each workshop can be found on the TRA website via the above links to each event. If you are unable to make a firm booking straight away, provisional bookings are recommended to reserve your place and can be made by telephone on 01204 385678 or via the online provisional booking facility.

There is still time to make a block booking of 2 or more places to receive discounts of up to 15% depending on the total number of places booked. A block booking form giving further details can be downloaded here

Latest vacancies on TRA Planning Jobs Board - 29/09/15

Here are some of the current vacancies on our Planning Jobs Board:

Advertising on our Jobs Board is entirely free to local authorities handling their own recruitment (unfortunately we can't offer it to recruitment agencies). We are keen to include planning roles of all types including those in planning support and planning enforcement.

If you would like to advertise a vacancy you can download our 1-page pdf which provides more information. Alternatively, you can simply send your text and the authority's logo to The Jobs Board is fully managed by TRA's staff in Bolton to ensure that the whole process of advertising is as quick and hassle-free as possible.

It is also free to search for those looking for a new opportunity. So if you are in the market for a new challenge, visit TRA’s Planning Jobs Board regularly – it could change your life! 

And please - if you do apply for one of these vacancies we'd be really grateful if you could mention that you saw it on the TRA Planning Jobs Board.


TRA complete bespoke training series for East Hampshire Councillors - 25/09/15

As mentioned in July’s edition of ENews, TRA was commissioned to provide a series of training events on behalf of East Hampshire Council specifically aimed at their Councillors.  The series concluded this month following the final session on Enforcement.

The training considered the key elements of planning enforcement, which is the most complex, contentious and litigious part of the planning process; where there is often a lot at stake. Taking effective enforcement action when it is essential is the key to maintaining the integrity of the plan making and decision taking processes and the public's confidence in the Council's planning service.

The session began with a look at the importance of enforcement, the need for planning permission, what constitutes a breach and what can be enforced against.

The presenter then went on to discuss in more detail:

  • the important early stages of dealing with complaints
  • questions of immunity, by looking at some recent case law
  • options for action, use of discretion and the decision as to expediency
  • some of the key tools
  • organisation for effective enforcement and
  • grounds of appeal.

This particular session was delivered by TRA Senior Associate, Lee Prebble, and was once again well received by attendees:

  • Extremely helpful. Always informative and up-to-date. Angela Glass
  • Most definitely met my expectations. Very good, needs regular updates to ensure the message registers. Ken Carter
  • A very useful session. Malcolm Johnson
  • Brilliant! Excellent presenter and good examples shown. Laetitia Pienaar.

The series was so well received by the authority that they also decided to run the Conditions workshop (delivered in East Hants in June) a second time, this time in their partner authority, Havant Borough Council.

If you think a training series would be of interest to your Councillors, or you would like more information on the sessions mentioned above, please do not hesitate to contact Angela Holmes to discuss your requirements. We are able to offer training on various ‘specific aspects’ of planning, some of which are mentioned on our website.

Could in-house training benefit your Authority? - 25/09/15

In-house training provides a unique opportunity for local authorities to provide training matched to their requirements, run at or near their premises, in a cost-effective (and more environmentally friendly) way.

Where an individual authority does not have sufficient staff to run a workshop for themselves, we encourage clients to look into the possibility of inviting staff from other Authorities to join in with the training, as this can help to reduce the per-capita cost considerably.  Delivering joint training is an option that a number of our clients now choose with very positive results, not only does it maximize cost effectiveness but it creates an ideal opportunity for participants to share local experience and knowledge.

Training takes the form of workshops with a limited number of participants (usually 20) and an interactive, participatory style with discussion and case studies/exercises.  These sessions are mainly one-day workshops, with a single presenter. Whilst any of the workshops can be run individually, they also represent a unique opportunity to put together a comprehensive programme of training to suit the specific needs of a particular authority and their staff.

Following the quiet holiday period in August and early September, TRA are now gearing up for a busy few months with in-house Officer training. Some of the sessions booked so far are as follows:

  • Presentation Skills for Planners - Surrey County Council
  • Prior Approval Notification and keys changes to the GPDO & DMPO (bespoke) – Arun District Council
  • Appeals and Prior Notification (2 half day bespoke sessions) – South Gloucestershire Council
  • The DMO & Handling notifications for Prior Approval (bespoke) – Eden District Council (on behalf of the Cumbria Training Group)
  • The Basics of Planning Enforcement – Woking Borough Council
  • Managing the Planning Customer’s Expectations – Horsham District Council
  • The Basics of Planning – Havant Borough Council
  • The Use of Conditions – Charnwood Borough Council.

If you would like more information on the benefits of in-house training, or you would like to receive further details on any of the in-house courses available you can either visit our in-house training web page, or contact Angela Holmes to discuss your requirements.  Please be aware that as well as the standard sessions on offer we can also develop bespoke sessions or tailor existing workshops to suit an individual client’s requirements.

Please note that the prices we quote from the outset are ‘all-in’ which includes all of our fees, presenter’s expenses and pre-course/course material, so no hidden extras!

Examiner recommends Crawley Down Neighbourhood Plan proceeds to Referendum - 01/09/15

The examination of the Crawley Down Neighbourhood Plan, submitted to TRA by Mid Sussex Council, was completed last month. The Examiner Brian Dodd concluded that, subject to some modifications, the Plan meets the "basic conditions" and other legal tests required. He therefore recommended that the Plan, prepared by Worth Parish Council, should proceed to a Referendum once modified. Mid Sussex will now consider the Examiner's report and decide whether the Plan will proceed to this next stage.

The Neighbourhood Plan Examination service provided by TRA offers a competitive pricing structure and the excellent administrative backup and customer service for which TRA is well known. If you would like to know more about the service please visit the Neighbourhood Plan Examinations page of our website. If you are interested in receiving a quotation or have any additional questions you can contact Penny O'Shea on 01204 385678 or without obligation.

October workshops in Manchester - 24/08/15

The remainder of the 2015 workshop programme for England and Wales includes a couple of events coming up at the Manchester Meeting Place on 20 October 2015. Places are still available on these workshops although prompt booking is recommended:

Permitted Development (only 4 places left)
This workshop is suitable for all staff (including support staff, technicians, enforcement and planning officers), who have to deal with enquiries about Permitted Development. This ever-relevant and popular workshop looks at how PD works, provides some crucial definitions and help in interpreting and applying the most frequently used classes of permitted development.  Its aim is to help participants develop the knowledge and confidence essential in dealing with this complex aspect of the planning process. The workshop will provide a useful opportunity to look in detail at Householder PD, minor development and other sorts of enquiries; how PD enquiries are handled; how the Prior Notification procedure works and how applications should be processed. The workshop will also look at the recent changes to the structure of the GPDO including some important new definitions, and crucially, it will provide an opportunity for delegates to ask any questions about PD.

Being an Effective Witness at Inquiries
This workshop is aimed at both planning and other technical officers who may be called as an expert witness at a Planning Inquiry but have relatively little or no previous experience. It is intended to promote a good understanding of the preparation required; what should be included in a witness statement; and how to give evidence in chief and under cross-examination. The workshop will provide participants with a solid grounding to improve their confidence, and thereby effectiveness, when giving evidence.  It will identify the legal and procedural requirements and provide practical advice on the approach to providing both the written and oral evidence needed to support reasons for refusal, conditions to be attached to a permission, or justification for enforcement action.

Further details and booking forms are available on the TRA website via the above links. Provisional bookings can be made via our online provisional booking facility. As always, discounts of between 10 and 15% are available when booking 2 or more places at the same time over any number of events in the 2015 programme.