NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Preliminary model review

Review of the local planning panel model

A preliminary review of the local planning panel (LPP) model was conducted by the Department, with support from the Boston Consulting Group.

The review found that the LPP model is rigorous and strikes a balance between offering strong procedural checks and balances, without hindering efficient panel operation or impacting on the overall functioning of the planning system. The review identified additional measures to further enhance the function of the panels and guard against the risk of corruption.

The review report (PDF, 1.05 MB) summarises the planning system improvements associated with introducing LPPs (colloquially known as IHAPs), examines the NSW LPP model against practices in other jurisdictions, and details the additional measures to strengthen the LPP model.

LPP review across four major areas

  1. Composition of LPPs
  2. Scope of LPPs
  3. Assessment, Determination and Decision Review
  4. Monitoring and System Review

Review findings

The review identified that, relative to other Australian jurisdictions with determinative panels, the NSW model has effective measures in place to ensure panel independence, minimise corruption risk, and guard against dysfunction. The strengths of the current model include:

  • Rigorous processes for the appointment of high quality experts with integrity.
  • Ministerial appointment of chairs, along with requirements for regular panel member rotations to reduce corruption risks including bias, familiarity and cronyism.
  • Objective criteria for matters referred to LPPs, which ensures transparency and certainty around what LPPs will consider.
  • Public, recorded meetings to increase public trust in the balance of inputs to the assessment and decision-making process.
  • Requirements for panels to produce a statement of reasons for all decisions, to increase transparency of decision-making rationale.
  • New opportunities for the LPP (as an expert panel) to provide input on other matters (e.g. planning proposals), increasing the level of expert input in key planning processes.

Recommendations to strengthen the LPP system

The review identified additional measures to further enhance the function of the panels and guard against the risk of corruption. These measures are outlined in the review report under the following headings:

  1. Take further action to ensure members are of sufficient expertise and repute
  2. Clarify opportunities and processes for obtaining an internal review of a decision, and share guidance on how this operates
  3. Implement Monitoring and Evaluation Framework
  4. Provide support for LPP-related complaints
  5. Provide councils and LPPs with more operational support to ensure procedural efficiency and uphold integrity of decision making processes

More information

For more information please contact the Planning Panels Secretariat on 02 8217 2060.

Page last updated: 07/10/2022