Wednesday, 13 June 2012

How things are done in Buncombe County

I was just looking for some planning information on YouTube and I came across this interesting piece:

Buncombe County Comprehensive Land Use Plan

Buncombe County, North Carolina, Planning & Development

Have any readers lived across the pond and experienced the planning system first hand?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

New Chief Planner for Scotland announced

According to my latest e copy of 'Planning Daily' in an item by  John Geoghegan

John McNairney has been appointed as the new chief planner for Scotland, it has been announced.

The item says:

McNairney, who is currently assistant chief planner, will take over the role as the Scottish government’s most senior planner next month.
He succeeds incumbent Jim MacKinnon who is retiring after more than a decade in the post.
A Scottish government spokeswoman said: "Following an open recruitment competition, John McNairney has been appointed as chief planner and will succeed Jim MacKinnon when he retires.
"John will take up his post on July 2."
I can find nothing so far on the Scottish Government web pages re this appointment.

Appealing Decisions - an update

Those who read the short post 'Appealing Decisions' may appreciate some further background regarding the future of the 'Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council'.  I suspect that many of you would not have realised that the AJTC - whilst undertaking their consultation on, 'Administrative Decisions made by Public Bodies in Scotland where there is no Right of Appeal against the Decision or where the Right of Appeal is inaccessible or inappropriate.' - was as a council itself under treat as part of the Westminster Government's proposed reforms through a 'Public Bodies Bill', as outlined below.

(The following extracts were taken from the, 'Response to consultation on reforms proposed in the Public Bodies Bill' -  Reforming the public bodies landscape of the Ministry of Justice 15 December 2011
Presented to Parliament by the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice by Command of Her Majesty - This was a consultation produced by the Ministry of Justice. There is a requirement, as relevant, to consult those bodies/individuals, Scottish and Welsh Ministers and the Lord Chief Justice, listed in clause 10 of the Public Bodies Bill. However, this consultation was also aimed at anyone with an interest in the Public Bodies Bill and the proposals it contains in relation to Ministry of Justice bodies. This report basically just sums up what everyone thought of the Westminster reforms in this case.)

...In July 2011 the Ministry of Justice published a consultation on reforming its public bodies through the Public Bodies Bill. The Bill, which received Royal Assent on 14 December, is part of the Government’s commitment to radically reform its public bodies, and the consultation set out the case for reform of bodies within the justice sector. Key to effective reform is the balance that must be struck between the independence which is vital for some functions of Government to be exercised effectively, and the need to optimise accountability and efficiency…
The Ministry of Justice has 3501 public bodies – the most of any department – and we proposed to reduce that figure by at least one quarter, to 264. We have also announced that the department will save approximately £1.6bn in total over the current spending review period through reductions in its public bodies’ administrative, programme and capital budgets. The Public Bodies Act 2011 is one part of this package of reforms; there are 13 Ministry of Justice public bodies within the scope of the Act which will either be abolished, merged or reformed.
The consultation received 2,742 responses…of these 2607 were identical responses regarding the Office of the Chief Coroner sent by members of the public via the Royal British Legion website.

The Public Bodies Act 2011 now provides the legislative framework for reform, giving Ministers powers to enact changes by order. Where a body’s functions are no longer required or it has fulfilled the purpose for which it was created, the proposal is to abolish the body. In appropriate circumstances, the relevant Government department would take responsibility for any particular functions to be retained, ensuring increased Government accountability – a key aim of the reforms.
...Bodies for abolition are included in Schedule 1 of the Act - and one of these bodies is the
- Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council

…A total of 41 responses were received regarding the proposal to abolish the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council (AJTC). The majority of responses came from individuals (18 responses), some of whom have an academic or professional background in the justice system, and from professional organisations and representative groups (12 responses) with specific involvement in administrative justice. There were four responses from charities. The AJTC itself provided a detailed response to the Government’s proposals and responses were also received from the Welsh and Scottish governments and from Sir Robert Carnwath, the Senior President of Tribunals.

…There is a strand of opinion that the abolition of the AJTC was justified, but the majority of respondents expressed the view that the AJTC should not be abolished. The Scottish Government is content for the AJTC and its Scottish Committee to be abolished and has been considering what arrangements should be made, in Scotland, following abolition.

 …a majority of respondents, many of whom are organisations active in the administrative justice field, commented that the AJTC’s strength is that it is an independent organisation that exercises a UK wide overview of the administrative justice system. They felt that from this perspective it is able to represent the user and exercise a vital role in sharing best practice, mutual learning and collaborative working between courts, tribunals and ombudsmen.

 …While the Scottish Government are considering what arrangements might be put in place following the proposed abolition of the AJTC, an organisation representing consumers in Scotland felt that the current complex tribunals landscape in Scotland required that the UK and Scottish Governments should work together to ensure that appropriate arrangements are in place following the abolition of the Scottish Committee of the AJTC.

The latest information I have is that the AJTC Scottish Committee is meeting on 12 June to consider the latest draft report - on their 'admin decisions with no right of appeal consultation' - from Professor Adler.  The Scottish Committee had been aiming for a publication date of sometime in July as they were expecting to be abolished on 31 July 2012. However, there has now been an indefinite delay in the laying of the Order to abolish, and they are using the reprieve to look a little deeper into certain areas of their consultation on admin decisions with no right of appeal with a view to delaying publishing until August/September. 

I have copies of the, '... response of the AJTC to the consultation paper ‘Public Bodies Bill: reforming the public bodies of the Ministry of Justice’ in which the MoJ is consulting on the government’s proposal that the AJTC, among other bodies, be abolished.', plus a copy of the,  'Government Response to the Public Administration Select Committee report on the future oversight of the administrative justice system'.  If you would like copies of these items or indeed the consultation response from which the above extracts were taken please email me at