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Ninety-nine per cent of planning decisions will be made by local councils. Strategic decisions will continue to be made at planning headquarters, on behalf of the DOE, but all major and small planning applications will be dealt with by local authorities.
The training of staff is part of the programme of work that the transition committees will address. The DOE will assist the transition committees in providing them with support and advice on how best to train individuals, and we will seek to identify the best way forward in conjunction with the strategic leadership board, which, I understand, the Member will join soon. I recognise that, if councillors’ functions are to be changed, there is a need to train councillors who wish to stand for re-election.