Auditors have praised West Lindsey District Council – giving it a substantial assurance opinion’ for its planning service.
Assurance Lincolnshire, carried out an internal audit of the Develop Management Team, which includes the planning team function.
The function has maintained a prolonged period of good performance, following a Peer Review in 2015. It recommended a number of actions, which was supported by a wider management led improvement drive and stability in key roles by appointing permanent staff.
Inspectors stated in the report: “We found that there is a well-run, effective planning service in place. The overall feeling and feedback from all officers interviewed was positive. A full staff structure, settled senior managers and officers, clarity on roles and a prolonged period of good performance all support a substantial assurance opinion on the service. “
The team is fully staffed with settled senior managers and officers who have clarity of roles, outcomes, reporting, targets and governance for the service. Regular team meetings and sharing of performance data means that there is a wider appreciation and understanding of service targets throughout the whole planning service.
Cllr. Giles McNeill, Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee welcomed the news. He said:
“I am delighted to see the internal audit has given the development management team a ‘substantial assurance opinion’. The service has undergone a comprehensive service improvement programme and has been able to recruit a number of much needed staff.
“This outcome should assure residents, applicants, parish councils and developers that the service is performing at the standard it should and delivering a quality service.
“I would like to thank all members of the team for their hard work in getting this rating in particular our planning services manager whose hard work has led to this outcome.”
The planning service is divided into two areas:
- Strategic planning and regeneration – This includes the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan as well as regeneration work such as the Gainsborough Housing Zone, Food Enterprise Zone and Local Development Orders etc.
- The development planning development function – Works to make sure all applications are suitable for the location and in keeping with local area.