The Corporate Director – Communities presented a report, the purpose of which, was is to update the Development Control Committee on the outcomes of recent audits of Planning Applications & Appeals and Building Control. The audits were carried out in accordance with the 2021/22 Internal Audit Plan.
The report gave some background information namely, that the purpose of the Planning Applications and Appeals audit was to provide assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of the internal control, governance and risk management arrangements in respect of Planning Applications & Appeals. Audit testing was undertaken in respect of financial years 2020/21 and 2021/22. The Audit scope included ensuring that the key controls were in place, as detailed in paragraph 3.2 of the report.
The Manager – Building and Development Control, advised that the purpose of the Building Control audit was to provide assurance on the adequacy and effectiveness of the internal control, governance and risk management arrangements in respect of this service. Audit testing was undertaken in respect of financial year 2020/21 and 2021/22. The Audit scope included ensuring that the key controls were in place, as detailed in paragraph 3.4 of the report.
Paragraph 4.1 of the report, then highlighted that for the Planning Applications and Appeals Audit, it was found that there is a
generally sound system of governance, risk management and control in place. Examples of this were listed in this section of the report. In addition, strengths and areas of good practice were reflected along with other issues where improvements could be made, which would be actioned accordingly explained the Group Manager – Planning and Development Services.
Paragraphs 4.4 and 4.5 of the report, gave details of the processes that were followed with regard to how meetings of the Development Control Committee operate, including findings of the audit of this.
In terms of an audit of Building Control, it was also found that there is a generally sound system of governance, risk management and control in place in this work area. Likewise to the above examples, in relation to other areas of Planning and Development work that had been audited, paragraph 4.8 of the report gave examples of strengths and areas of good practice in respect of Building Control functions.
A Member felt that it would be advantageous for Committee Members to also receive feedback from members of the public, such as in the form of Questionnaires, that if completed and returned would reflect levels of customer satisfaction on the services the Council provides in relation to Planning and Development work.
The Group Manager – Planning and Development Services advised that data such as this used to be provided to the Committee annually as part of the Annual Performance Report (APR), however, since the pandemic planning authorities have not been required to submit APRs. Also, with staffing levels having reduced considerably in recent years, there was insufficient resource within the Department now, to collate this information with the view of presenting it to Members periodically and along with other planning authorities in Wales, survey work is carried out by the Wales Data Unit. Hopefully this work will resume next year.
RESOLVED: That Members of the Development Control Committee noted the contents of this
Report, as well as its findings and recommendations within the Audit Reports for the two service areas so illustrated.