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Ombudsman offers practical guidance to planners when recording decisions

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGO) has issued new guidance for planners when recording the decisions they make.

The Ombudsman said it received more than 2,000 complaints and enquiries each year about English local authorities’ planning functions.

It added that common areas in which it found fault with the decision-making process included failing to explain properly the reasons for decisions, or overlooking material considerations.

The LGO said that based on real casework examples, the learning points in the report offered “clear, practical steps planners can take to ensure the decisions they make are evidenced and recorded properly”.

The guidance, which can be viewed on the Ombudsman’s website, also includes good practice suggestions, along with links to relevant legislation and resources, including the framework Ombudsman investigators use to publish their own investigation decisions.

The Ombudsman, Michael King, said: “Communities can only have confidence in the planning process if councils fully and accurately record the reasons for their decisions, including the information they have taken into account to make them.

“We have created this new guidance to share the learning from our investigations with professionals about this aspect of the planning process, and to help councils improve their procedures, and services for the public, to ensure the decisions they make are as transparent as possible.”