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Openness Regulations

South Downs National Park Authority is committed to being open about the decisions that it makes. Many decisions are made by the Authority’s Members at meetings of the

Details of the reports considered by each of these Committees can be found on our website. The decisions made by each of the Committees are recorded in the Minutes which are approved at the next meeting. For information about the decisions made by the Authority’s Committees, please contact Robin Parr (Robin.Parr@southdowns.gov.uk ) 01730 819207 or Gill Welsman (Gill.Welsman@southdowns.gov.uk ) 01730 819267.

As well as decisions made by its Committees, the Authority allows some decisions to be made directly by its officers – either specifically at the request of a Committee/Sub-Committee or under a general authorisation (set out in the Authority’s Standing Orders). These are known as decisions taken under delegated powers or ‘delegated decisions’.

National rules require a written record to be kept of certain delegated decisions taken by officers. The requirement to keep a written record is effective from 6 August 2014 and does not apply to delegated decisions taken before this date. The requirement to keep a written record applies only to decisions:

  • to grant a permission or licence (e.g. decisions to grant a grazing licence);
  • that affects the rights of an individual (e.g. decisions about planning applications);
  • to award a contract or incur expenditure and which will materially affect the Authority’s financial position

The written record will be available for inspection at the Authority’s offices and on the website as soon as reasonable practicable after it has been made, and will include:

  • the decision made and the date the decision was taken;
  • the reason/s for the decision;
  • any alternative options considered and rejected; and
  • any other background documents.

You will not be able inspect some recorded decisions if the whole or part of the records contain Confidential or exempt information

Which decisions does the Authority record?

In accordance with the Openness regulations the record of relevant decisions taken under delegated powers is available in the document  below. Certain decisions e.g in relation to planning are available elsewhere on our website – please see below for further information.

Decisions About Planning (inc. Listed Buildings and Minerals and Waste):

Officers can make delegated decisions in relation to any matter arising under the Planning Acts and on the determination of applications for certificates of proposed or existing lawful use and development, subject to provisions requiring applications to be considered by Planning Committee.

All the decisions made by the Authority about planning applications can be found on our website. You will find a planning application search facility ‘Planning Application Search‘ which will let you search for a particular application. The search will allow you to see the status of an application (i.e. whether it has yet to be decided or whether a decision has been made) and whether it was decided by the Planning Committee or whether it was a delegated decision made by a Planning Officer.

Where an application has been decided, the determination/certificate/decision notice will set out the date of the decision and the reasons for the decision and if the application has been approved, any conditions attached to the planning consent. You will also find background documents including the planning application itself and any responses from consultees.

If you would like assistance to use the planning application search facility or if you cannot find the information you are looking for please contact planning@southdowns.gov.uk.

DECISIONS ABOUT PLANNING ENFORCEMENT:

All decisions to take enforcement action in relation to planning in the National Park can be found on our website on the Enforcement Register. You will be able to search the Enforcement Register to find details of a particular enforcement decision. The decision notice will set out the date of the decision and the reasons why enforcement action has been taken.

If you cannot find the information you are looking for please contact enforcement@southdowns.gov.uk.

DECISIONS ABOUT WORKS WITHIN TREE PRESERVATION ORDERS AND CONSERVATION AREAS:

Officers can make delegated decisions about the management of trees that are subject to a Tree Preservation Order. Decisions relating to works within Tree Preservation Orders and conservation  can be found via the Planning Application Search facility on our website. If you cannot find the information you are looking for please contact planning@southdowns.gov.uk.

DECISIONS ABOUT AWARDING CONTRACTS OR INCURRING EXPENDITURE:

Every contract entered into by the Authority shall comply with the Contract Standing Orders and with the European Procurement legislation  (where applicable) and with any relevant EU Directives for the time being in force in the UK. The objective of these Standing Orders is to ensure that contracts for the supply and disposal of goods, materials and services or for the execution of works, are obtained on the most financially favourable terms, having due regard to quality, service, fitness for purpose and sustainability.

The Authority’s provisions to award contracts are set out in the financial procedure rules .

While the award of contracts or expenditure will not necessarily materially affect the Authority’s financial position, in line with its commitment to openness of decision making, the Authority provides a record of each contract entered into following a tendering exercise. This is available on our website.

Which decisions won’t the Authority record?

The Authority’s officers take many administrative and operational decisions on how they go about their day to day work. These decisions do not need to be recorded. For example, decisions that do not need to be recorded might include:

  • Routine administrative and organisational decisions
  • Decisions on operational matters such as changes to services and charges
  • Awarding Landscape Conservation grants

These are a few selected examples and not an exhaustive list.
Further information and guidance about the rules on recording decisions and access to documents can be found at the Openness of Local Government Bodies Regulations 2014.

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