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IHAP objectives and evaluation

Since 1 March, Independent Hearing and Assessment Panels (IHAPs), known as Local Planning Panels under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, have been mandatory for all Sydney councils and Wollongong City Council.

 

The objectives of panels are:

  • better planning outcomes through greater expertise, independence, and probity in decision–making
  • faster decisions
  • improved capacity for councils to undertake strategic planning functions.

 

To determine if these objectives are being achieved, the Department has established an evaluation framework that will monitor and report on panel performance. The framework is summarised below, with further details at the following link.

 

As part of the evaluation framework, councils in the Greater Sydney region and Wollongong are to provide quarterly data reports to the Secretary of the Department. This data will provide ongoing feedback on the operation of panels. To enter your council’s data, go to the NSW Planning Portal IHAPs Quarterly Report.

 

The evaluation framework

To identify and assess the early performance and impacts of panels, the Department has established an evaluation framework for IHAPs. This framework has been developed in consultation with councils, peak industry groups and the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), and with assistance from the University of Technology Sydney's (UTS) Institute for Public Policy and Governance.

 

The framework is designed to:

  • inform, after a reasonable period of panel operation, decisions about whether policy settings should be changed or adapted to better meet the objectives of the reforms
  • evaluate, after a longer period of operation, whether the panel reforms have met the policy objectives.

 

The framework includes:

  • a program logic outlining the intended (immediate, intermediate, long-term and ultimate) outcomes of the reforms
  • an evaluation plan, outlining the evaluation questions, which data should be collected by the Department and councils and how frequently this should occur.

 

The Department is actively monitoring and evaluating the first 12 months of IHAP operations and panel performance to ensure they are operating efficiently. The Department aims to release the findings of the evaluation in two reports, a half-year report (which covers Quarters 1 and 2) and a yearly report, which covers the last two quarters (Quarters 3 and 4).

 

Half-year report (April - September 2018)

The first report presents the key findings of the evaluation of IHAPs for the first six months of operations (April - September 2018), along with some recommendations and areas for consideration. The Department has accepted all five recommendations.

 

The key findings and considerations from this report will support the Department's ongoing monitoring of IHAPs, in line with the immediate objectives of the evaluation.

 

Appendix C and D are separate attachments and provide more detailed data in relation to Quarter 1 and Quarter 2.

 

More information

Contact the Planning Panels Secretariat on 02 8217 2060.

Evaluation framework downloads

Page last updated: 31/05/2019