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Northgate calls for greater community engagement in the planning system

Government proposals to improve the planning system in order to address global challenges such as climate change and to deliver sustainable communities have been welcomed by Northgate Information Solutions today in a response to the Communities and Local Government consultation on the Planning White Paper.

Northgate agrees with the government that there is a strong case for reform to promote efficient and effective planning policy and to give local people a voice, but calls for the development of a statutory framework for community engagement to govern all stages of the new planning regime. This framework should set out general principles and guidelines for promoting engagement which meets the needs of all members of the community, including ‘hard to reach’ groups.

In its response, Northgate also calls for:

• national policy statement consultation guidelines to be drawn up following discussions with key stakeholders, and for these guidelines to be enshrined in law;

• at least one member of the new independent planning commission to have a particular remit of representing the community interest;

• the planning process to be opened up through maximising the opportunities for new and less formal methods of communication, such as online consultations, stakeholder workshops, focus groups and the use of citizens’ juries;

• consideration of the use of new technologies in promoting inclusion and delivering two-way communications.

Russell Osborne, Managing Director of Land & Property at Northgate Public Services said today:
“We welcome the proposals laid out in the Planning White Paper as a major step forward in encouraging a dynamic and streamlined system that contributes to the development of healthy and sustainable communities. It is essential that a clear framework for community engagement be enshrined in law to ensure that people remain at the heart of the modernised planning regime, and we would like to see new and dynamic forms of communication considered to ensure that all parts of the community are able to fully participate.”

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For more information:

Fellows’ Associates:

Kathy Sutton
Tel: 020 7849 3403
Mob: 07966 890401
Email: ksutton@fellowsassociates.com

Kuntal Biswas
Tel: 020 7849 3347
Mob: 07930 566291
Email: kbiswas@fellowsassociates.com

Notes to Editors:

1. Northgate Information Solutions is a leading provider of innovative services to the public sector and utilities markets. Northgate’s task is to enhance public value through the intelligent use of people and technology, and to share in the economic and social benefits that this brings.

2. In the UK, the company works with four out of five local authorities and every police force. Northgate supports public service transformation through sustainable performance partnerships. Its technology is used in the administration of more than £12 billion of revenues and benefits; in electoral administration systems covering 18 million people; to support the national system for reporting police performance; and in the management of over three million local authority and housing association properties worldwide. Founded in 1969, the company has over 6,000 employees.