PRINCIPLES FOR THE ASSESSMENT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT
1. There is a presumption against the imposition
of any new planning requirement from central Government or the
expansion of requirements in respect of existing plans.
2. All planning requirements must be kept
under review and should be subject to regular evaluation against
the principles set out in this document. Evaluation should include
consultation with representatives of local government.
3. Purposes of a planning requirement must
be clear and necessary for the delivery of national policy priorities
in line with the agreed central/local government shared priorities.
4. A plan must not be required where other
mechanisms for achieving those purposes would be more effective,
particularly mechanisms for performance assessment such as inspection
and performance data or for performance improvement such as action
plans. Alternatives must also be proportionate to the priority
attributed to outcomes.
5. The necessity for a planning requirement,
and the degree of prescription and detailed reporting for those
that are retained, should be considered in the context of authorities'
6. The introduction and content of any new
planning requirement should be subject to:
the principles set out in this document;
consultation with representatives
of local government;
an assessment of its potential impact
a specified period of operation before
a formal evaluation.
and should, wherever possible, be integrated
within an existing planning requirement.
1. The relevant national priority policy
outcomes and the role of the planning requirement in their delivery
must be clearly identified.
2. Central government must use information
gathered for a tangible purpose related to the delivery of national
priorities which justifies the resources required to produce it.
3. Plan requirements must facilitate the
delivery of service improvements and should focus on service targets,
drivers for future improvements and outcomes, not inputs.
1. Plan requirements should avoid prescription
about form and implementation wherever possible, leaving scope
for local discretion unless particular processes are necessary
to ensure the delivery of national priorities.
2. Detailed operational information should
only be requested where needed by Government for specific purposes,
must be consistent with other requests (eg BVPIs) and should be
the minimum necessary for the purposes specified.
3. Plans should not require the submission
of data that is already collected and held by government or where
similar data already collected or held would be a sufficient substitute.
4. Plans, individually and collectively,
must allow for incorporation of local priorities.
1. Planning requirements should allow scope
for innovation and performance improvement over time.
1. Plan requirements should be aligned with
management processes undertaken by authorities (eg budget setting)
on which compliance with the requirement depends.
2. Plan requirements should be aligned with
any other such requirements or a related process, including inspection-related
activities. This should include facilitating more streamlined
and coherent consultation by authorities.
3. Where practicable the aim should be to
integrate planning requirements within the community strategy
or the best value performance plan in a manner determined by the
4. The presumption is that authorities should
be able to use single plans to satisfy more than one planning
requirement. This may be particularly important in respect of
5. Where practicable, plan requirements
should be aligned with related processes undertaken by local partners
to foster partnership working.
1. There is a presumption against annual
or other very frequent obligations to produce new plans.
2. Reporting requirements should be consistent
with the principles set out above for plan requirements.
1. Plan requirements should seek to minimise
resource inputs by authoritiesofficers and Membersand
to partners and the community over and above their internal management
and other processes.
2. Plan requirements should seek to make
efficient use of central government resources.