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Planning and Probity

Date: 29/5/2009

Planning decisions involve balancing:

  • the needs and interests of individual constituents and the community, with
  • the need to maintain an ethic of impartial decision-making on what can be highly controversial proposals.

The challenge of achieving the balance between these dual roles led the LGA to issue its original Probity in Planning guidance note in 1997. However, since then a comprehensive ethical framework for local government was introduced following the Local Government Act 2000. A revised national code of conduct for councillors was introduced in 2007. Each authority is required to adopt a local code of conduct that sets out rules governing the behaviour of its members.

This 2009 update (prepared by POS for the LGA) provides refreshed advice on achieving this balance in the light of such changes. It also better reflects local authorities' roles as place shapers and the enhanced role for councillors as champions of their local communities. It recognises councillors' ability to participate in discussions prior to the receipt of a planning application on behalf of their communities, and engaging in spatial planning policy formulation.

To read the 2009 guide click here

PAS have published a new guidance document for councillors and officers, reflecting changes in the Localism Act. It clarifies how councillors can get involved in discussions on plan making and on applications, on behalf of their communities in a fair, impartial and transparent way. The 2013 guide is available by clicking here


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