Feeling better – Brent Council Planning team’s improvement ambitions

11th June 2019 / BY / IN Planning

Brent Council’s Development Management (planning applications) team play a key role in encouraging the delivery of the many developments reshaping Brent and underpinning its economic growth.  They take a development-positive approach.  And customer outcomes and customer experience are very important to them.  The team recently won the 2019 Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Award for the local authority planning team of the year.

But working in development management (DM) is challenging and sometimes stressful.  Even for positive, helpful, communicative planners, there’s often still someone who disagrees with the judgements and decisions you make.  And feedback can feel harsh and personal.  So planners’ wellbeing is important too.

The team’s senior leaders understand this and want to make working in DM in Brent as interesting, professionally rewarding and stress-free an experience as possible.  Actually, most of the team’s planners already say Brent is the best DM service they have worked for – we’ll be writing more about that soon.  But they also say that it could be even better, and their customers’ experience could be even better too.

DM team members agree ways to make Brent an even better place to work

To start realising more of this potential for improvement, Brent’s Operational Director Regeneration, Growth and Employment, Alice Lester, asked Mondrem to help.

Mondrem have wide experience of helping improve Planning services for their customers and for the people and councils who deliver them.  We’ve been helping the team understand and deliver the things that will improve their wellbeing. That’s included:

  • Finding and fixing the bits of technology, process and behaviours that cause frustration, extra work and delay
  • Reducing the pressure of high caseloads by taking a new approach that deals with planning applications more quickly
  • Understanding, keeping in mind and sharing why the Brent DM team is already a great place to work

All this will help create the time the team need to do the things they value most as planners and place-makers, speed up the process, make it more predictable and deliver better quality and a better experience.  And that’s exactly what their customers want too.

Alice and Mondrem Director, Mike Astbury, mark the start of the project

“Mondrem’s knowledge of operational management and of DM has helped us look at high caseloads (work in progress) in a new way.  We thought of high caseloads as the cause of a slower response.  Now we’ve turned that thinking around – a slower response is one cause of higher caseloads.  By changing the process, the way we work and by moving away from the 8-week and 13-week processing convention for DM, we can reduce pressure in the team, create a better working experience and give better service to our customers.

”David Glover, Development Management Manager, Brent Council

If you would find out more about helping your teams to feel better and deliver better customer outcomes please contact us.

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