Local Plans are no Longer the Single Source of Truth – and that’s the Problem

One of my favorite concepts is that of the Single Source of Truth (SSOT) It comes from information science and means that you always need a single reference for any piece of data. If you don’t you cant be sure what the ‘truth’ is, which requires an enormous waste of energy to check the truth.

Local plans are no longer that single source. Take RAF Manston, or Shenfield Aereodrome, where the local plans state one thing and DCO promoters state another and there is no clear NPS statement saying what the ‘truth’ of the zoning is. Take also Cambridgeshire where an elected mayor has one transport strategy and the growth partnership has another.

This massive confusion and waste is just not tenable in a zoning system where the whole point is to simply and clearly state what the truth is in terms of the information state is of what will get consent.

Brent Dykes on Forbes

Unlike in some political circles where alternative facts appear to be acceptable, you can’t afford to have them in your organization. They must be eradicated at all costs if you want to run your business effectively and efficiently. Having multiple versions of the truth can lead to confusion, paralysis and bad decision making. Inconsistent, contradictory data erodes trust in the numbers and impedes the ability of an organization to understand its current performance or forecast into the future with confidence.

Its benefits though are often misunderstood. The aim is not to replace gut feeling with ‘evidence based ‘ decisions but to avoid a loss of energy validating or going over decisions where the amount of evidence is sufficient to justify a gut feeling decision. its all about replacing the discredited 19th century view of rationality that still predominates in planning – the subject of my forthcoming book.

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