Getting quick responses and saving you time

How the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) Group allows members to increase their knowledge, save time and get quick responses to queries.

We interviewed Rebecca Staddon, Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Officer at Taunton Deane Borough council about the benefits of her membership to the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) Group.

"Using the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) group forum would save you money if you were going elsewhere to pay for this expertise."

Building knowledge

Through my Knowledge Hub membership my knowledge and understanding of Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) has definitely increased. CIL regulations are strict but open to a lot of interpretation and discussing the regulations with other people working in the same area is invaluable. Often a local authority will have only one CIL officer, therefore being able to have a discussion with other local authorities and come to a conclusion can save time.

When I first became CIL officer I found it useful to access this wealth of knowledge. It also builds confidence when someone asks for guidance on an aspect of CIL that I have had experience in and I can offer my help and advice.

Accessing a range of perspectives

A benefit of the PAS group is the range of knowledge of the members who take part in discussions and finding out views from different perspectives. I recently posted a question about whether we should be charging CIL on student accommodation. I was advised by other PAS members that it depended on our viability testing, which meant that this was a legal issue and needed to be dealt with by our legal team who would have to make a ruling.

"What I like most about Knowledge Hub is being able to pick the brains of people who have had involvement in CIL for longer than I have and have greater knowledge and understanding of it."

Without access to the PAS group I would basically have to build my own database of contacts, however the day job doesn’t allow me the time to do this. Posting a question or request for guidance in the forum will always get at least one reply very quickly, one or two replies on the same day, and many more within a working week. While it’s understood that the responses may be based on people’s opinions, some people respond to discussions regularly and you get to know the names of those who will get back to you.

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