Development Management Insights for delivering the customer experience while meeting the financial challenges

Finding the little extras that can transform Development Management What do you do to improve the efficiency and customer experience from Development Management when you’ve already looked in all the usual places? Look in some new ones of course! We’ve been working hard with a number of LPAs recently looking to improve the Development Management (DM) process in local authorities and a few things have struck us. This short series of mini insights highlights just a few points that we hope might help others looking at improving efficiency, effectiveness and outcomes from DM. If you have any comments or ideas please let us know, we’d love to highlight them here for others to learn from. Insight 1 – How to get better results for your customers and residents by improving agent performance Insight 2 – If you aren’t blessed with high quality applications are you destined to under achieve? Insight 3 – Is the planning portal costing you and your applicants more than they realise? Insight 4 – Are you one of the top fastest improving authorities? Insight 5 – Which authorities have the greatest challenge with planning enforcement and what IS it about London?   For more information about our range of services to support Development Management including our unique on-line DM process simulation tool and data insights packages please contact us via the link below. Name(required) Email(required) Comment(required) Share...

Helping to fund regeneration the smart way.

It’s a statement of the obvious to say that reducing deprivation is a Good Thing and that it can be very helpful to local authorities since council tax collection may increase as areas develop. Indeed this is at the heart of current policy in business rate retention. What may not have been considered so much however is a secondary by-product of reducing deprivation. The chart below shows how income deprivation is intimately related to council tax collection rates. The greater the deprivation in an area, the lower the council tax collection rates. Its not the only factor influencing collection rates but its certainly a very important one. This has important implications when it comes to benchmarking performance of course and may challenge perceptions of how is doing well, or not, on this indicator. But it also means that as income deprivation drops there should be a corresponding increase in collection rates. To give a sense of this, the council marked below is not doing particularly well on council tax collection on the face of it. But when taking account of income deprivation it is performing EXACTLY where you would expect it to be since deprivation is quite acute here. However, this council would achieve an additional £2m of income per year through improved collection alone rates if deprivation levels improved to something like the lower 40% percentile. It’s a big ask to have this much impact on income deprivation but an additional £2m a year will certainly help to fund this important work and is certainly worth considering. Share...

How to save money in the public sector the right way

We were running a series of workshops recently and have been really struck by a few emerging themes about making savings well, and how this impacts on those who are required to manage through the turmoil. At one session, we were discussing some of the amazing things that they are doing in Manchester and the work we’re supporting on domestic violence. Assistant Chief Consultable Rebekah Sutcliffe has been leading this along with Chief Superindent Neil Evans (two of my absolute public sector heroes, seriously these people are inspirational and the work is among the highlights of my career!) with fantastic support from the PCC, Jamie Hopwood and funding from the Home Office. We were talking about how the new model that is being driven is a once in a career opportunity to build a brand new service from the ground up based on evidence and data that fundamentally changes the system and tackles genuine need, probably for the first time ever. Oh and it also happens to be substantially cheaper. Those at the workshop were truly inspired by this and quite right too (“Now I remember – THIS is why we came into the public sector – to make a difference to citizens, residents and communities”). But… in their context this wasn’t how it was. One comment was “great stuff, but for us we’re down to banning post-it notes and cancelling training courses”. Now this can work, after all British Cycling has transformed the sport by focussing on all the minor details (the 1% ‘marginal gains’ that add up to a big impact). We’re great fans of this model,...

Could chance factors be ending many a promising career?

For our own amusement we’ve built a simulator of the English football Premiership results (we’re like that) which very faithfully replicates the real results. The results should be a case study lesson in understanding events beyond your control. The chart shows the number of points scored by each team and their position in the table after 12 games in the season as the results emerged from one run of the simulation (blue line). So the team leading the table has scored 27 points. In contrast the bottom team has only scored 5. Meanwhile, in the real world the situation after 12 games this season is shown in the orange line. As you can readily see the simulation very faithfully replicates what has actually happened and it would be very hard to tell them apart. We also looked at the average points per game, goal difference, away and home results and they also look very much like the real thing. Looking at this, we suspect that the poor manager in team at the bottom of the table will be feeling a certain amount of heat. Maybe they will even lose their job in the very near future, if they haven’t already. In contrast, the manager of the leading team and the players will be looking forward to a richly deserved bonus cheque and a very healthy transfer fee. All well and good you might say. But there is a catch. The results from the simulation are generated entirely at random! Absolutely no skill, form, cunning tactics or mojo involved whatsoever. With all the money that rides on results in the...

How to get 57 percent more value from your capital programme.

  Download this blog as a pdf Introducing a better way to prioritise projects A tall order? Maybe, but we’ve recently completed work for a major UK Government agency and improved outcomes by 57% within the existing budget. The issue. The organisation was under pressure to deliver more from its capital programme despite severe financial constaints and a need to demonstrate that it was delivering the best value for money that it possibly could. The programme we were given is very complex; 3,500 projects and £1.8b spend. The question was which schemes to fund to delivery maximum value? As most people do, the current approach was to include the schemes that contribute most to the goals first and then keep adding more projects until all the resources are fully allocated. This is the ‘Big First’ strategy and it’s a good one. For simple programmes it can often achieve up to 70% of what is possible. But is there a better way? Imagine a list of 10 possible projects. Big First, says start with the two largest. But if these consume all the available resources then the remaining eight are left unfunded. But what if taking out one of the two largest projects frees up capacity to undertake three or four of the slightly smaller ones. And what if this was a better overall result? Or what if there were others ways to select schemes? With only 30 potential projects on the ‘to do’ list this becomes impossible ‘by hand’. If you tried a dozen options a minute, every minute since the Big Bang you would still not have scratched the surface....