Question: How many staff have left the planning department since 1/1/17 and how many vacancies are there currently?   

Answer (given by the Chief Executive as Head of Paid Service)

13 staff have left the service since 1st January 2017.

There are currently 6 Vacancies across the service, all of which are in the process of being recruited to.

Background and further detail:

While 13 ‘have left’ as of today, a further 5 members of staff are expected to leave over the next three months.

There are a range of reasons for people leaving. It is important to note that of the 8 Planning Officers who have left since the beginning of the year, only 2 of those have moved to another Local Authority – 6 of them have either moved to private practice, retired or changed career.

Recruitment is underway for the following posts:

Development Management:

2 Grade 6 Principal Planning roles – adverts will go out imminently. These roles have been advertised recently and we were only able to recruit one of the applicants so we will be advertising again, with a revised advert.

2 Grade 5 Senior Planner roles – adverts will go out imminently.

Strategic Planning:

1 Grade 6 Senior Spatial Policy Planner (to provide extra capacity to deal with neighbourhood plans) – this is a new role to build capacity and respond to scrutiny review - advert being written

1 Grade 5 Infrastructure Officer – another new role to build capacity (advert about to go out)

1 Grade 4 Administrative officer (recruited, soon to start)

B*** N***** finishes at the end of this month. His replacement has been recruited and begins on 18th December.

T***** S**** has also finished his time with us but is not included in the above as that was wholly in line with the term of his interim appointment.

There are currently 3 consultants working within the DM team. We are trying to recruit a further 4 consultants in the immediate term to manage workload and provide cover during the transition from people leaving to being able to recruit their replacements. It is a challenge to find quality and experience in the marketplace, both for consultants and permanent positions.

Some general statistics about the challenges in recruitment:

As of June 2017 there were 147 vacancies for local authority planning staff across the East of England.

Almost 40% of senior planner vacancies across the East of England are covered by Agency staff.

Supplementary Question

Could we receive a regular update on the position?

Answer – Yes

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