Durkan meets with English planning experts for advice on hand-over

IMG_7721Environment Minister, Mark H Durkan; Mary MacIntyre, Chief Planner in DOE Planning; Alice Lester, Programme Director of the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) in England; and Steve Quartermain, Chief Planner in the Department of Communities and Local Government 

Environment Minister Mark H Durkan today met with Chief Planners from England in an information sharing exercise in preparation for DOE’s transfer of planning to local government.

Steve Quartermain, Chief Planner in the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and Alice Lester, Programme Director of the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) in England met with Mark H Durkan, DOE Planning’s Chief Planner, Mary MacIntyre and other senior planners. Discussions covered wide ranging issues relating to the transfer of community planning powers from central to local government in April 2015.

Commenting on the meeting, Mark H Durkan said: “My officials are aware of the significance of the scale of the transfer, especially the human element involved. It is hugely important to leverage knowledge, technology and processes in order to ensure an effective and efficient service to the public post-transfer. Developing knowledge appreciation between organisations will hopefully provide a great return on investment when functions transfer in 2015.

“Sharing knowledge from colleagues in England has been helpful in highlighting areas of common interest. Exchanging ideas will help assist improvements in the way things are done in the build up to the transfer of functions.”

Steve Quartermain said: “It’s a great opportunity to share experience. Having worked in both local and central government I hope I can assist in shaping the transfer of planning powers to local councils to create a planning system where decisions are taken as close to the community as possible.”

Discussions also centred on roles and responsibilities of the Department post transfer. Other critical issues including culture change, capacity building, performance management and improvement were discussed.

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