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RTPI invites bids for research into planning outcomes

23 October 2019

1 Cuningar Loop Aerial View - Credit Robertson Construction (002)The Royal Town Planning Institute has today announced it plans to commission research to identify the most important outcomes in spatial planning and feasible ways to measure them.

In an Invitation to Tender (ITT), the RTPI points out that in recent years the assessment and monitoring of planning in the UK and Ireland has mainly focused on a limited set of most process-based outcomes.

This research will explore how local authorities and national governments can go beyond simple metrics, such as speed of processing applications and number of new homes delivered, with an ultimate aim of producing outcome measures and monitoring toolkits that can be adapted and adopted by local authorities.

Policy officer, Tom Kenny, who has also published a blog on the issue, said: “It is often said about organisations that ‘you are what you measure’. If this is the case then it is not surprising that local authorities with limited resources and a focus on numbers and speed are shifting attention towards facilitating development control at the expense of proactive placemaking.

“The planning system should be assessed on the outcomes it is designed to deliver, such as the social, economic and environmental value of development, to help demonstrate the value of planning in a richer way. This is no easy task but advances in planning technology and the availability of data bring new opportunities to measure a wider set of outcomes.”

The research, which will be funded by the RTPI, the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government, the Office of the Planning Regulator in Ireland and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government in England, will build on RTPI's previous work around the Value of Planning as well as the Scottish Government's 2018 report Monitoring the Outcomes of Planning.

Applications are welcome from consortiums with a range of expertise and knowledge about different nations. The deadline for proposals is 9am on Monday 25 November 2019.