Planning Service Performance & Improvement

An efficient and well-functioning planning service plays an important role in delivering sustainable economic growth, facilitating development of the right quality in the right places.  Regular monitoring of service performance and a commitment to improve are essential to achieving this.

Planning Performance Framework

A new planning performance framework was introduced by planning authorities in 2012.  Developed by Heads of Planning Scotland, and supported by the Scottish Government, the framework captures key elements of a high-performing planning service, such as:

  • speed of decision-making
  • certainty of timescales, process and advice
  • delivery of good quality development
  • project management
  • clear communications and open engagement
  • an overall ‘open for business’ attitude

The framework gives a balanced measurement of the overall quality of the planning service and will be used to drive a culture of continuous improvement.

Annual Performance Reports and Improvement Plans

In line with the framework, the first round of planning authority annual performance reports were produced in September 2012 and are available from Local Authorities. Performance reports have also been produced by the Scottish Government’s Planning and Architecture Division and by agencies.

The performance reports incorporate and replace Service Improvement Plans, which have been produced by the public sector for the planning service since 2008-09.

The Scottish Government has summarised the information contained in the individual authority reports and this can be found in the Planning Performance Annual Report

Scottish Government

We welcome feedback on any aspect of the service we provide. Please send us any comments.


The first agency annual reports were submitted in autumn 2012 and will be updated annually.

High Level Group on Performance

In February 2013 the Minister for Local Government and Planning announced that he would co-convene the above group with Councillor Stephen Hagan , COSLA Spokesperson on Development, Economy and Sustainability to support improved planning performance across Scotland.  A record of the group’s remit, agendas, action points arising, agreed performance markers and other relevant papers.


Quarterly and annual statistics are published by the Scottish Government. These relate primarily to decision-making timescales for planning and other applications by Scotland's planning authorities, previously measured against 2-month and 4-month periods. They also provide information on approval rates for applications, local reviews and enforcement activity. The format for reporting performance statistics is changing with effect from 2012-13, now measuring average timescales in decision-making; consistent with the new performance framework.

Workforce Survey

The Workforce Survey 2010 provides information on the workforce in Government, Agency and local authority planning departments between August 1, 2009 and July 31, 2010.  Future workforce information will also feature within annual performance reporting under the new performance framework.


Andy Kinnaird
0131 244 7076