Better Pathways to Planning
Over the past 18 months, Council has been consulting with the business community seeking feedback on its proposed Economic Development and Investment Strategy. Throughout the consultation process, Council received strong feedback from the business and broader communities on the challenges of navigating Council’s planning and development assessment processes.
Council’s Better Pathways to Planning project, which commenced in July 2019, is responding to this feedback. The project aims to more fully understand the experiences of people who have navigated Council’s planning and development assessment processes with the view to identifying areas for improvement.
Walking the path
Council has engaged independent consultants to deliver the community engagement components of the Better Pathways to Planning project. The in-depth engagement activities will help the consultants (and Council) to better understand, through frank, open and honest conversations with stakeholders, the experiences of people who have walked the planning and development assessment process pathway.
From August to October 2019, Council’s independent consultant will conduct in-depth interviews and focus group sessions with a representative cross-section of stakeholders. It is expected that 15 individuals/organisations will participate in the one-on-one interviews, with a further 29 individuals/organisations participating in in-depth focus group sessions. Participants will range from one-off and occasional applicants, through to regular applicants for whom liaising with Council’s Planning and Development Department is a critical part of their business.
To ensure that the results reflect the breadth of the communities’ experiences, Council will be inviting participants who have had a range of experiences in their dealings with Council’s planning and development services. This will help Council learn what it currently does well from a customer perspective, as well as the areas of the service experience that could be improved.
Discovering new pathways
The feedback received through the one-on-one interviews and focus group sessions will inform options for service improvements. The service improvement options will be presented to the general public by way of an online survey for feedback.
At the conclusion of the engagement process – one-on-one interviews, focus group sessions and community survey – a report will be developed and presented to Council for their review and endorsement. The report will include a summary of the feedback received through the various engagement activities, as well as suggestions for improvements.
Once the report, and its recommendations for service improvements, is endorsed by Council, a comprehensive action plan will be developed that, once delivered, will support a more user-friendly planning and development experience. It is expected that the report will be available to the public at the end of November 2019.