How do they do it? Keith Holland

Written by: Jez Abbott
Published on: 24 Nov 2014

Keith Holland

Keith Holland has worked in the UK since 1974, first in local government with Thurrock Borough Council and Wycombe District Council. From 1982 he worked in private practice as a planning consultant before joining the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) in 1996. As group manager at PINS Holland has responsibility for development plans and the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) charging schedule examinations.

Q. What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them? 

As group manager for special projects I help wherever I'm asked to by the inspectorate, which includes the development plans division. I advise local authorities on their plans and have a lot of external links with various different stakeholders. I have annual, mid-year and end-of-year reviews on how well I have fulfilled my objectives. But as I help wherever they ask me to, it's hard for them to set specific objectives. But one measure is to what extent external stakeholders are happy with the advice I've offered. Given that I am often invited to speak at conferences and seminars, I hope, this is a reflection the extent of their satisfaction.

Q. What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives? 

A Follow the evidence wherever it may lead you. Planning can be very emotional, not say irrational, and the only way to get through that irrationality and emotion is to follow evidence.

Be confident. Planning needs to regain its confidence. Too often it's allowed to become a bureaucratic process rather than something that focuses on consideration of the big issues such as strategic planning.

Don't lose sight of the need for integrity. The importance of integrity for organisations such as the Planning Inspectorate cannot be overstated and is a crucial part of the planning system.