London’s boroughs are set to launch a good practice planning guide for councillors.

The guide, produced by London Councils, Government Office for London (GoL) and London First, is based on independent research on the different ways boroughs engage planning members in complex applications.

Michael Snyder, London councils’ executive member for planning and economic Development, said: ‘To ensure our local communities get the most benefit from any new development it is vital that councillors are fully aware of the key role they play in the planning process.’

The good practice guide, backed by the Association of London Borough Planning Officers, aims to ensure that:

* councillors receive training on a range of issues including the Mayor’s London Plan, planning law, sustainable design and how to engage with applicants without prejudicing themselves

* councillors can be involved in the pre-application and post-submission phases

* any member who will make a decision on a planning application is familiar with the application site

* boroughs have a protocol in place for all councillors involved in decision making. It should detail how and when councillors, members of the public and other third parties will be involved in new procedures adopted from this guidance.

Liz Meek, GoL’s regional director, said: ‘The government fully supports this good practice guide. It provides excellent practical information to help authorities and councillors handle major applications promptly and efficiently.’

‘It also strongly supports the important role of councillors, and is in accord with the messages in the recent Planning White Paper about improving local decision-making processes.’