Planning in Northern Ireland

01 October 2020

Work in progress

We are currently undertaking work in order to produce this publication.  Details of when we aim to publish the finalised report are indicated below. 

The planning system exists to secure the orderly and consistent development of land, whilst furthering sustainable development and improving well-being.  It is a key enabler for the delivery of a range of outcomes targeted within the Programme for Government and subsequent Outcome Delivery Plans.


Since April 2015, responsibility for delivering planning functions has been split between local councils (who have primary responsibility for delivering the operational planning system) and the Department for Infrastructure (who are responsible for planning policy and legislation).


The focus of our audit will be to examine how effectively the planning system, under its current operating arrangements, has been on delivering its key objectives. In particular:

  • How effectively councils are delivering their Local Development Plan, Decision Making and Enforcement responsibilities;
  • How effectively the Department has provided guidance and intervention to ensure the system operates effectively; and
  • The key issues and constraints that have a negative impact on performance.

We aim to publish this report at the beginning of February 2022.