08/04/2009

NI Planners Praised

The Stormont Finance Minster has praised Northern Ireland's Planning Service for "its robust and efficient implementation" of the findings of a Performance Efficiency and Delivery Unit (PEDU) review of the service.

Nigel Dodds (pictured) said PEDU was formed a year ago to help departments achieve improved service delivery to the citizen.

Its review of the Planning Service was completed late last year and the current results are said to show encouraging progress towards improved performance.

Following a meeting with party colleague, NI Environment Minister Sammy Wilson to review the progress made to date, Mr Dodds said: "The people of Northern Ireland deserve world class public services and PEDU is helping departments deliver better, more efficient services to their customers.

"PEDU started work late last year in collaboration with the Planning Service, looking at ways of improving processing times and helping them deliver against challenging targets.
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"I am encouraged by the positive results that are already evident from Planning Service's work with the PEDU team," he continued.

He also noted that, in some cases, the implementation of key actions by Planning Service exceeded the timescale anticipated by the review - progress towards agreeing a Service Level Agreement with Roads Service being one such example.

"PEDU is an excellent tool to ensure efficient and effective delivery of key Executive commitments. It is clear that their work in collaboration with departments can deliver tangible benefits," he commented.

For his part, Environment Minister Sammy Wilson also welcomed the results of the process.

"The Executive as a whole and my department in particular are committed to improving and speeding up the planning process.

"PEDU's review has been part of our overarching reform programme. I am especially pleased the key areas for improvement and action identified by the review were also those which we had already been focusing on as part of our reforms, such as improving the quality of applications," he said, noting that the review has helped focus on key goals and quickly begin to deliver visible benefits.

(BMcC/JM)

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