Officer training

 We offer specialists in their fields who bring their expertise to help your team buld their knowledge and skills.

The training will be provided at your premises or chosen venu, or virtually: or perhaps you can share with neighbouring authorities.

Preparing for local plan examination

Local plan examinations are still new to many staff, and require different skills and approaches to the local inquiry model. This course will help the team get into the right frame of mind to engage confidently with the examination process, and respond effectively to the Inspector.

Ideally the training takes place when the Council has received notification of the Inspector’s key issues. This enables the training to address both principles of approach and how particular issues might be dealt with.

Reporting to Planning Committee

This course covers all aspects of presenting recommendations to committee, including demonstrating in the report how material considerations have been balanced; handling member concerns and queries before the meeting; making verbal reports to committee, with tips and tools to assist effective presentation; and responding to issues raised by public speakers and Committee members.

The course emphasises the importance of good communications between officers and members, and provides good practice examples. Please note this is not a specialist presentation skills course.

Tools and tips for appeals and inquiries

The course will review the respective roles of the inspector and the witness and consider the use of expert witnesses.  The trainer will identify best practice and do’s and don’ts when preparing statements and presenting evidence, as well as how to respond under cross examination at inquiries. 

The course will consider an example case study and provide an opportunity for a problem solving “surgery” session.

Neighbourhood planning

This workshop looks at how NDP preparation has evolved over time, and how the expectations in terms of evidence and clear methodology have grown, and the implications for how LPAs will need to support neighbourhood plans in the future.

It goes on to explore particular issues or concerns raised by participants in preparing for the event, and how they might be effectively tackled.

Plan and project viability

Planning authorities must demonstrate the deliverability of their plan proposals and policies, and the level of the CIL should have regard to the impact on viability.  So it is essential that planners have a good working understanding of viability and development finance. This course covers plan and project appraisal, economic viability and the CIL.

Framing effective local plan policies

This course starts from the proposition that plans are as a tool of decision-making, so policies need to be framed so that they are clear and will stand up to challenge at local inquiry, and be effective in use. 

It examines a range of sample policies to identify weaknesses and how they can be overcome.


Feedback from our training is consistently very good: 

“Lots to think about and gives loads of ideas for us to provide a better quality service. Many thanks for a stimulating session. Very good interaction with delegates. Excellent course – thought it was going to be good and it turned out to be better than expected” (Steve Matthews, Sefton MBC) 

“It was helpful that the trainer not only brought general and other LPA case examples but demonstrated awareness of key issues of Barnsley Local Plan and its examination” (Alan Hart, Barnsley MBC)

“Well targeted to individual authority’s circumstances - solution based training” (Rebecca Brown, Richmond on Thames BC)



For further information on training opportunities please contact Linda Durtnal, our Training and Development Manager at or call 01296 422161.