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Our report found that ongoing delays in adopting key strategic documents have created significant risks for the Council.
Because of this, relationships between some members and officers are fractured within the Council.
Our main aim was to discover if the Council had effective governance arrangements in place to secure value for money in decision making with a focus on the Planning Service.
We undertook a review of the Planning Service’s arrangements and the extent to which it is supporting delivery of the Council’s overall objectives. Our work looked at how the Council reviews and monitors its governance arrangements, including how it secures appropriate values and behaviors, with a specific focus on the Planning Service.
At the time of our work, Members had not adopted a Local Development Plan. This created significant risks for the Council. And though the Planning Service has appropriate governance arrangements in place, and provides comprehensive member training, Member relationships with officers are fractured, and professional officer advice is frequently undermined.
Based on our findings, I have set out recommendations intended to improve the relationship between officers and members, their understanding of respective roles and responsibilities, and the management of corporate risks. Taken together, I hope this will help the planning service fulfil its crucial enabling role across the Council.
Since our audit work, the Council adopted their Council Plan 2023-28 at Council on 13th December 2023 and their Local Development Plan at Extraordinary Council on 20th December 2023.