Minister for the Environment, Deputy Jonathan Renouf, has published an independent review of Planning services, alongside his initial response to the review.
The review was led by former Chief Planner to the Scottish Government, Jim Mackinnon CBE.
The ‘Review of Planning for the Government of Jersey’ puts forward a series of recommendations and improvements – including a top priority to introduce efficient, effective, and sustainable processes for validating and registering planning applications. There is also a focus on making significant improvements to customer service.
The Minister’s Response acknowledges the issues faced by Planning services and accepts the report’s recommendations in full. The Minister has also committed to publishing a more detailed Implementation Plan which will set out how the accepted recommendations will be actioned.
The review, commissioned by Deputy Renouf (pictured) earlier this year, follows organisational changes in Planning services since the previous review in 2019. In his Ministerial Priorities, Deputy Renouf outlined the need to seek independent recommendations on how to deliver a better public service.
The Minister’s Response outlines an initial overview of actions. Some immediate steps include:
- Reintroducing a duty officer service at Customer and Local Services for customers to book appointments for pre-application advice.
- Reporting customer feedback to managers on a quarterly basis using the Government of Jersey Customer Feedback Policy and management system.
- Consulting with internal teams, customers, industry stakeholders, and States Members to develop a detailed Implementation Plan with actions, responsibilities, measures, and review dates.
Minister for the Environment, Deputy Jonathan Renouf, said: “I commissioned this review in January with the understanding that there is a great deal of improvement required in Planning services for a variety of reasons. I would like to thank Jim Mackinnon for his recommendations, and I accept them all, in full.
“There is much work to do, as expected, but it is important to note that the report also highlights significant positives. The process of determining applications, the desire from within the department to support improvements, the open and transparent Planning Committee process, and the ambitious and rigorous Bridging Island Plan, all contribute to reasonable decision-making.
“I’d like to reassure Islanders and staff working within Planning services that a series of actions is being progressed, some with immediate effect, to deliver a real change and ensure we are delivering the best service possible.”