Compliance Benchmarking

Every benchmark is a collaborative activity. Some people might want a particular focus on validation, others on the way experts contribute their views via the consultation process. Similarly, some people going into the process clear how they intend to use the results and others are doing it as a general healthcheck or as a snapshot they can refer to in the future.

For these reasons a group benchmark can feel a bit like a negotiated compromise. It can't be all things to all people, and we begin by feeling out interested parties with some questions around scope and depth. These lead to "The Benchmark Rules" - a framework which explains what the core benchmark is, what's involved and how we all agree to treat the edges of a planning service and how to treat corporate costs. This year in 2021 we have the additional complexity of Covid - we want to understand the impact but we don't want it to produce entirely skewed results.

To build the cost benchmark we need councils to provide four sources of data, and where relevant provide resource data in cost terms (rather than headcounts or grades / job descriptions).


The benchmark is delivered to a cohort working together. Once the benchmark starts we won't let people join it because it hampers progress.

The rules for the 2021 Benchmark are not yet fixed.

Data sharing, governance and decisions

The benchmark is being funded my our colleagues at MHCLH so they can understand the costs and incomes of planning departments. A detailed cost and income model will be shared with them at various stages of the benchmark, along with a report that hightlights what we have learned.

Part of the benchmark will generate information about performance, including time taken to perform the steps of determining applications and data about withdrawn and refused applications. Members of the benchmark can use this comparative data, perhaps taking information from it to public forums but will not identify each other by name. Aggregated or anonymised information about performance will be shared with MHCLG where relevant.

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