7th of November 2014
Council delivering leading development assessment practices
In January this year, Ipswich City Council endorsed the Commitment to Planning Reform developed by the Council of Mayors South East Queensland Planning Reform Taskforce. The Taskforce represents a collaborative approach by SEQ Councils and participating industry bodies to achieving leading development assessment practice and planning through an action based agenda for implementation by the Council of Mayors (SEQ) and individual participating SEQ Councils. Ipswich City Council is actively represented on the Taskforce by Council's Planning and Development Committee Chairman, Cr Paul Tully and Council's Development Planning Manager, Jo Pocock.
The 'Commitment to Planning Reform' requires SEQ Councils to review their existing development assessment services in accordance with industry best practice and it is the responsibility of individual Councils to resource any identified improvements to ultimately deliver on the commitment. Ipswich City Council is well placed to deliver the objectives of the 'Commitment to Planning Reform' with recent initiatives such as the development assessment complexity matrix, fast track processing for simple development applications, electronic assessment processes, decision ready operational works program and the electronic pre-lodgement meeting facilities amongst others.
Where are we now?
With the assistance of the Planning Reform Taskforce, Council has recently undertaken a benchmarking exercise to evaluate the current state of Council's services against industry leading practice. This review process concluded that Council's existing services are performing strongly against leading practice within SEQ. This strong position is reflective of the ongoing business improvement initiatives undertaken to enhance Council's development assessment services.
In a continuing approach to business improvement, Council's Planning and Development Department has identified a range of actions to further enhance our service to the community. Utilising the Leading Practice Framework, a two year Action Plan has been prepared to deliver important business improvement activities, which principally involves the assessment activities of both the Development Planning and Engineering and Environment Branches of the Department.
Council is currently pushing ahead with implementing the reform activities with particular focus being directed towards delivering the following actions over the next 12 months:
- Issuing Acknowledgement Notices within 48 hours;
- Notification of application receipt following lodgement;
- Consolidation of workforce management tools into branch specific Workforce Management Plans;
- Understanding our customers better and to develop a specific Development Assessment Customer Service Charter;
- Alignment of reporting systems with a SEQ regional performance monitoring framework;
- Refinement of information request processes and particularly minor requests for information;
- Review of the Risk Assessment Framework with the view to streamlining other assessment types;
- Development of a streamlined assessment model for signing plans of subdivision;
- Enhancement of e-Planning capabilities through e-Planning Strategy development.
Central to the 'Commitment to Planning Reform' is the delivery of benefits to the community and customers. Council will be seeking further dialogue with customers to obtain feedback on business and development assessment activities. The SEQ Council of Mayors has given strong recognition to Council's current and emerging development assessment activities and Ipswich City Council is committed to leading the way in best practice within SEQ.