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Sunday, 14 September 2008

Mediation in the Planning System

Programme of Seminars: An Invitation
6, 7, 9, 10 October 2008
Planning can make an important contribution to the Scottish Government’s overall purpose of increasing sustainable economic growth in Scotland . It is Ministers’ clear view that planning should be about making things happen: an enabler rather than simply a regulator. The Government is committed to modernising the planning system to ensure that the process is efficient, inclusive, fit for purpose and promotes sustainability.

The Scottish Government is currently promoting legislative reform and making structural changes to the system. There is also a need for “everyone involved…[to] examine their respective roles in the planning system and contribute to culture change.” (PAN 81,2007). It is recognised that difficult issues arise in planning, at all stages in the process. These can be time-consuming, costly and sometimes antagonistic. There are opportunities to consider different ways of addressing these issues.

One possibility - signposted in both the 2005 White Paper Modernising the Planning System and the Planning Advice Note 81 – Planning with People - is to increase the use of mediation and mediation techniques by which those involved can be engaged in structured discussions about contentious issues with a view to seeking to resolve or narrow these quickly and constructively.

Core Solutions has been commissioned by the Scottish Government to prepare a flexible User’s Guide to help to encourage the use of mediation in the planning system, where appropriate, in order to improve outcomes and increase efficiency. The Guide is intended to build on recent experiences in Scotland and to draw lessons from what has happened elsewhere.

The Guide will inform planning authorities, developers, relevant organisations and members of the public of the possible uses of mediation and other similar techniques across the planning system. It is intended to be a practical resource for those involved in the planning system. It is intended that the Guide will be available on the Scottish Government website, possibly using a web platform with easy access to key information. The Guide will, we hope, be a starting point for generating greater understanding and promoting further use of mediation, with the ultimate aim of supporting key stakeholders in meeting the challenges of the modernised planning system.

An online survey and interviews carried out in the preparation of the Guide have indicated that there is some experience of utilising mediation in some areas within the Scottish planning system. There is significant interest amongst planning departments, developers, consultants and other interested bodies in understanding more about the role mediation could play. A number of interested parties have already offered views and these have been taken into account in the initial drafting of the Guide.

An integral part of the process in which we are engaged is to introduce and explore the use of the Guide in a programme of seminars across Scotland in October for planners, developers, public agencies, NGOs and other stakeholders. This will give all those with an interest a real opportunity to be involved in further drafting and finalisation of the Guide, to provide us with feedback on its content and to maximise its practical usefulness.

The seminar programme offers the following dates and opportunities:

6 October: 12 noon - 5 pm Glasgow (Scottish Enterprise , Atlantic Quay)
7 October: 12 noon - 5 pm Edinburgh (Scottish Government, Victoria Quay)
9 October: 12 noon - 5 pm Inverness ( Highland Council, Town House)
10 October: 11 am - 4 pm Aberdeen ( Aberdeen University , tbc)

We hope that the Guide and the web platform will be available for perusal by participants prior to each event. Each seminar will be interactive, allowing time for frank discussion of issues arising. A buffet lunch will be available on each occasion.
The seminars are free and should count towards CPD points.
It is vital to the success of this initiative that those with an interest engage in the development of the Guide. We would like to take this opportunity to invite you to participate in one of the seminars, at a venue of your choice.

Please register by Friday 12 September to enable us to finalise arrangements at each venue. Please click here to register online.
Planning Registration
We shall send further information to participants in due course.
With best wishes
John Sturrock
John Sturrock QC
Chief Executive

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Thinking Differently. Core Mediation and Core Coaching are divisions of the Core Solutions Group Limited, providers of independent mediation, facilitation and coaching services to business, the professions and organisations.
Tel: +44 (0) 131 221 2520; Fax: +44 (0) 131 221 2522; DDI: +44 (0) 131 221 2524
Core Solutions Group Limited, Rutland House, 19 Rutland Square, Edinburgh, EH1 2BB

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