Our Skills and Experience
- Project Synthesis for the Transformational Planning Project
- Transformational Planning - Hambleton Council
- Transformational Planning - Leeds Council
- Transformational Planning - East Riding Council
- Fast Implementation of News Systems and Proesses Case Study
- London Councils - Benchmarking for Planners
- Forecasting Planning White Paper
Local Development Frameworks
Our work with over 30 local planning authorities has reinforced the importance of Local Development Frameworks (LDF) in delivering local visions and priorities. In the current climate, the pressure to reduce public spending may tempt decision makers to target areas such as planning policy ahead of direct frontline services for cuts.
However, never has good strategy been more critical! Or perhaps more correctly: good strategizing has never been more critical; that is the real time process of developing strategy rather than simply the content of strategic decisions.
The traditional top-down 'golden thread' view of strategy envisages a hierarchical approach starting with an overall vision for the local area followed by subsequent levels each embellishing upon that which precedes it.
Our challenge to this traditional model is that strategy development ("strategizing") in practice does not follow such a linear and sequential model. Our alternative "Golden Wheel" has been developed as a result of our extensive work with local planning authorities and our observation that strategy is developed via a continuous process of feedback and learning from different functional strategies and the delivery of services in practice. Our "Golden Wheel" model demonstrates the critical role that the Local Development Framework should play in delivering council and local area priorities.
The double-headed arrows in the model are highly significant as in practice each element of the wheel continually develops and influences the others. This is a very different view to that of the top-down, linear incarnation described earlier. The benefit of viewing strategy in this way is that such a philosophy encourages a fluid cross-functional approach to the development and implementation of strategic priorities and a greater focus on social and economic outcomes. We have worked with clients who have seconded spatial planning officers over to the Local Strategic Partnership to aid the development of both the LDF and Local Area Agreement (LAA), thus reinforcing this approach to great effect.
The Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) has a major role to play as it should bridge between the LDF, the LAA and other local and regional strategies (such as housing, transport and economic) and specifically align planning delivery with wider social outcomes. For example, considering the levels of employment land delivered over time in a particular authority against the overall employment rate prompts a number of questions, such as:
These questions (and others) encourage the feedback loops described in the model and will often require a cross-functional approach to strategic problem solving.
Taking this alternative perspective shows the LDF as less of a passive vehicle for delivering high-level visions and more as an active ingredient that informs and shapes the process of developing and delivering strategy. Furthermore, we can then question whether councils and local strategic partnerships give sufficient priority to these efforts. These considerations should then be fed into any decisions on savings targets, or restructure work driven by the efficiency agenda, indeed rather than looking to make cuts, perhaps there is an argument to increase the investments made in such areas in order to support economic recovery.
If you would like to discuss how better strategy alignment can help your service, or discuss how to ensure that any damage to your service from saving targets is minimised then please contact us.