Andrew England joined Bournemouth City Council as head of planning earlier this year from Cornwall Council.
His new role role was created after the council merged two separate roles covering planning policy and development management respectively.
Q. What are your objectives in your current role and how are you measured against them?
A. Our department has service plan objectives for planning. These are focused on getting applications decided and policy documents published in a timely fashion. The key targets are based on national targets. The service plan was developed before we reorganised our department, and is likely to be revised to reflect targets on additional income we are now raising from pre-application discussions. The revised objectives will try to measure more than just timetables but include quality measures.
I report into the head of the planning, transportation and regulation directorate. We have a monthly meeting and he looks at the biggest projects to ensure things are on track and to discuss any major issues. My appraisal is ongoing, rather than through a single meeting once a year. This is done through regular one-to-one meetings
Q. What key lessons have you learned during your career that help you to fulfil those objectives?
A. You never stop learning. Many years ago I did my first degree in geography and I read a lot of influential books. More than 30 years later, the penny is dropping as to why I read them and how useful they are.
Communication is vital. You can never communicate enough when you are managing and leading a team. It is important to let staff know what their objectives are and how they are performing.
Always be positive. I look at legislation like the Localism Act – some people thought that it had nothing to do with planning, but if you embrace it and take it on board, you can use it as a really positive tools. Always look at the opportunity that comes through change, rather than moaning about it.