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Decision details

SHARED SERVICES 2019/20 Business Plans for 3Cs Building Control, and Greater Cambridge Planning Service

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: No

Is subject to call in?: No


To approve the 3C Building Control Business Plan 2019/20.


Matter for Decision

The report sought approval for the Building Control Business Plan and Greater Cambridge Planning Services Business Plan 2019/20.


Decision of Executive Councillor for Planning Policy & Transport

i. Approved the Business Plans for each of the Shared Services, Building Control Shared Services Business Plan & Greater Cambridge Planning Service Business Plan 2019/20.

ii. Authorised the Shared Services Management Board to approve final amendments to the Business Plans in line with comments received from all partner councils.


Reason for the Decision

As set out in the officer’s report.

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a joint report from the Strategic Director, the Director of Planning and Economic Development and the Head of Building Control.


In response to the Committee’s comments the Director of Planning and Economic Development said the following:

i. There had been a total of 27 job vacancies advertised across the shared services since April last year.

ii. Had recently appointed four planning officers from the process that was started earlier in the year.

iii. The Shared Planning Services consultation would allow the organisation to make improvements to the personal development and growth of officers; this would allow an additional learning opportunity into the planning service.

iv. The consultation would also allow development of the induction process and ensure that support was available.

v. Important to develop staff to enable them to progress, whether inside or outside the organisation; in turn they would promote the level of service experienced to external organisations and members of the public.

vi. Work had taken place on benchmarking and job evaluations; salary levels were competitive with other local authorities.

vii. There was a recruitment timeline which was being followed, although there was a slight delay there.

viii. Lessons had been learnt from the first round of the consultation process as there had been a series of workshops involving staff to discuss ideas and to put forward suggestions

ix. Could be possible to include the offer of accommodation in the future as this was an important consideration when looking at job opportunities.

x. Research had shown that there was a consistent pattern in the number of planning applications submitted between Cambridgeshire City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council; 42% and 58% which had allowed previous budget to be based on ratio of work.

xi. As part of the shared services project a memorandum of understanding has been drafted using planning applications and policy delivery outcomes such as the joint Local Plan, North East Cambridge Area Action Plan and Supplementary Planning Documents. Based on this a resources plan had been designed as it was important to understand the resource allocation for budgetary purposes.

xii. The budget had been historically based on ratio but in future officers would have the capacity to account for their time to the relevant authority with the implementation of a single ICT system.

xiii. The benefit of a shared planning service brought resilience; officers should be able to cover both authorities if required. Therefore the way that officers recorded their time was critical.

xiv. Cambridge City Council had limited areas of geography for development which would have an impact on future income for the Council.

xv. Important to create a new culture under the shared services so that officers did not see themselves as working for one or the other local authority, there is the opportunity for flexible working and working at various locations.

xvi. Citizens and businesses required a good, responsive and accessible planning service, wherever they were located, which is what the shared services would offer.

xvii. The strategy of the business plan would account for the cost of officers and allow the recruitment for a range of specialist officers whose services could be used by outside agencies and charged for their time.


The Committee then received an executive summary on the Business Plan for 3c’S building control.


In response to Members questions the Head of Shared Service said the following:

i. Post Grenville there was a discussion to be part of a joint competency agency which would only include Local Authority Building Control.


Certain buildings in scope would only be dealt with by the Local Authority Building Control Department and not by Approved Inspectors. This model was currently being tested by Central Government.

ii. Individual local authorities and developers were being encouraged to take forward their own initiatives.

iii. The Hackett report referred to the introduction of gateways; at planning stages there would be enforced consultations with the Fire Authority and Local Authority Building Control. Further discussion on this matter would be taken forward.

iv. Looking to ensure tighter communication between Building Control and Planning Services.


The Committee then resolved by 5 votes to 0 to exclude the press and public during the discussion of Appendix 2 of this item by virtue of paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.


The Committee:


The Committee resolved 7 votes to 0 to endorse the recommendations.


The Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport approved the recommendations.

Publication date: 23/01/2020

Date of decision: 19/03/2019