Our learning groups are unique to POS Enterprises. They bring together groups of practitioners who are keen to keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date, and be on top of changes in the plan making system. What makes them unique is that each group is supported by expert project officers, who develop discussion materials and facilitate lively and rewarding meetings.
There are nine learning groups. Two cover local planning, one specialises in minerals and waste planning, one deals with development management, three address CIL and viability, one focuses on neighbourhood planning, and one deals with design and place-making.
Local planning groups
The two groups assist authorities to share experience and explore aspects of plan-making practice. Participants agree the topics for meetings in the light of their priorities and current interests. The meetings tackle the change agenda in planning, such as the the implementation of the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act, together with important aspects of professional practice.
The groups meet four times a year, and the annual participation fee is £1,450.
The minerals and waste group
This group is important because it is one of the few channels of support to minerals and waste practitioners. In addition to the valuable content of the group meetings, members use an email contact group to raise queries or issues of practice with each other.
The group meets four times a year, and the annual participation fee is £1,600. We also offer corresponding membership for £300 per year.
The development management group
This group brings practitioners together to explore current live topics in development management. Meetings include presentations by the project officers, demonstrations by group members or guests on interesting initiatives and practices, and discussion of current issues experienced by members.
Departmental representatives regularly attend the meetings, to provide updates and to hear group members’ views on the practicalities of planned changes to the regime.
The group meets three times a year, and the annual participation fee is £1,000.
CIL and infrastructure groups
We run three CIL and infrastructure planning learning groups, whose meetings continue to be held virtually for the foreseeable future. The groups enable participants from over 50 authorities to explore the practical implications around the CIL and S106.
Experience shows that the operation of the CIL and collection of monies is even more demanding than putting the charging schedule in place. Our groups bring together authorities to explore the practical issues which arise and how to tackle them. At the same time the group keeps abreast of emerging changes to the CIL regime, and explore different aspects of the system, including the experience of examinations and current proposals for change to regulations. Its members make extensive use of an email group to raise queries and issues with other each other.
Each group meets four times a year. The participation fee is £1,500 per year.
The neighbourhood planning group
This group grew out of the realisation that although there is good support for neighbourhood planning groups, there is none for the LPA officers charged with assisting them. The group provides a forum for officers to examine and share thinking about aspects of the neigbourhood planning regime, and develop their expertise in the specialist skills that are needed.
There are three meetings a year in addition to the mutual online support, and the meetings are informed by discussion with guests that have included civil servants, academics, consultants, examiners and others engaged in neighbourhood planning. Among other matters, group members have agreed they want to use the group to keep up to date with changing regulations, identify and disseminate good practice, learn how to help neighbourhood plan groups achieve better quality assurance and health checks, and capture good ideas from case studies.
The annual participation fee is £1,000.
The design and place-making group
This new group has been set up to support authorities as they engage with the Government's strong emphasis on good design. The focus of the group will be on how to use the tools of the planning system to deliver good design and placemaking – establishing a golden thread that runs through from the local plan vision, location strategy and policies, to design codes and guides, neighbourhood plans, development management, implementation and subsequent placekeeping – ensuring that management of the public space is sustainable, accountable and community based.
The group meets three times a year, and the participation fee is £1,000 per year.