How can we help? New customer service standards

Brighton & Hove’s planning and building control teams have created new service standards for all their customers, from planning agents and architects to residents and developers.

The planning customer service standards make it clearer on how people can contact officers and access the service.

From 2 October, officers will also provide a progress update for applicants at week five for minor applications and week eight for major applications if they have not already been decided. The updates will include outcomes of site meetings, consultation and any issues that may need to be addressed before decision.

Councillor Julie Cattell, chair of the city’s planning committee, said: “We want to build a really positive relationship with our customers and I’m pleased that these new standards have been informed by both existing customers and the frontline staff that deal with planning applications on a daily basis.

“The new customer service standards will ensure we make it clear for customers on how we can help, whether that’s through the website or by direct contact with an officer and will keep them informed of the progress of their planning applications.

“With fewer resources it is even more important that we are open and informative about what we can deliver for our customers and make sure we provide a service that is relevant to them.”

Planning enquiries are often complex and take time to research, so planning officers will aim to respond within five working days. If this is not possible they will let customers know how long it will take to provide detailed responses.

Planners are aiming for a consistent approach across the service.

The service is also improving the website, making it easier and more convenient to find and make use of relevant information.

The standards will be reviewed in January.