validus management consultancy UK

Local Government Case Study

Development Control and Strategic Planning within Mid-Devon District Council

Workload increase, staff changes, service delivery increase
Now one of the best councils in England on processing planning applications


The Development Control and Strategic Planning function within Mid-Devon District Council


  • The department was recovering from a difficult period that had seen significant increases in workloads, changes in its staffing and senior management, whilst service delivery demands had increased
  • The service was scheduled for a Best Value review in June 2005


  • Established a Best Value Core Team consisting of key departmental members
  • Used the EFQM model to support a series of one-to-one interviews with key managers and members, plus group sessions with staff to determine:
    • What the service is trying to achieve (Ambition, Priority, Focus) linked to overall Council objectives
    • How the service has set about delivering its improvement priorities (Capacity, Performance Management)
    • What improvements the service has achieved / not achieved to date
  • Extensive data compilation and analysis including:
    • Existing process definitions
    • Internal performance statistics
    • Comparative performance information
    • Family group benchmarking
    • Customer surveys and group workshops
  • Reviewed data with the core team, objectively critiqued strengths and weaknesses
  • Developed improved service delivery mechanisms and targets linked to the Council's key strategies and plans
  • Compiled BV Action Plan with fully detailed targets and accountabilities for delivery (linked to the Best Value 4Cs) and mounted on the Councils intranet


  • A detailed implementation action plan that clearly demonstrates; goals, objectives and how these will be delivered
  • Demonstrated self-awareness; the ability to successfully assess strengths and weaknesses
  • Improved the ability to objectively assess and prioritise areas for improvement

"There is a strong record of significant improvement in the service. Over the last two years, fundamental changes to the way the service is managed has led to significant improvements, such as moving from being one of the worst performing councils in England on processing planning applications to one of the best."
Audit Commission : 2006