Decision details

Probity in Planning - Revised Guidance Note on the Role of Councillors and Officers

Decision status: Recommmend Forward to Council

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


Cabinet received and considered Minute PL19/117 arising from the meeting of the Planning Committee held on 13 February 2020 that had considered the revised Probity in Planning Advice for Councillors and Officers making planning decisions issued by the Local Government Association and Planning Advisory Services. 


The revised guidance reflected on changes to legislation and the 2019 National Planning Policy Framework.  It clarified how Councillors could get involved in planning discussions on plan making and on applications, on behalf of their communities, in a fair, impartial and transparent way.  Three areas were specifically highlighted, as the advice had significantly changed or been updated, namely how Councillors dealt with social media; predisposition, predetermination or bias; and the role of legal support. 


A Member of the Planning Committee raised concern that the Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Strategic Planning was also the Chairman of the Planning Committee which gave rise to a potential conflict of interest and went against the guidance.  It was noted that the guidance advised that in smaller Councils it was acceptable for Cabinet Portfolio Holders to be on the Planning Committee and exercise caution regarding possible conflicts of interest.


The purpose of the guide was to assist Members in their community engagement role whilst making good standards of probity.  It was recommended that the guidance be adopted and incorporated into the Council’s Constitution.


RECOMMENDED: That the best practice advice ‘Probity in Planning: for Councillors and officers’ second revised edition 2019 be adopted as guidance and incorporated into the Council’s Constitution.

Publication date: 13/03/2020

Date of decision: 09/03/2020

Decided at meeting: 09/03/2020 - Cabinet

Accompanying Documents: