One company does at least 250 Housing estimates for local plans – councils refuse to disclose data

One botched arithmetical calculation could change housing figures all over the country – but councils refuse to allow scrutiny of the data.

“Councils have a public duty to estimate housing need. Guildford has delegated this calculation to a property consultancy called GL Hearn. It has not disclosed the detailed arithmetic and assumptions to show how the housing need for the borough was calculated. It even professes not to hold a copy of the model.

Guildford’s Code of Conduct pays lip-service to ‘Openness’, ‘Transparency’, and ‘Honesty’. Failure to oblige contractors and consultants to disclose their calculations to the public is not consistent with these values. Nor is it an acceptable method of conducting public affairs. It is not consistent with the principles of good public procurement contracting. Failure to explain in detail the assumptions and arithmetic behind the housing need estimates which underpin the Local Plan is a dereliction of public duty.

GL Hearn apparently subcontracted the work to Justin Gardner Consulting:

It claims to have worked for some 250 planning authorities across England. Failure to disclose may therefore be widespread.

Please see the Information Commissioner’s decision on the link below:

Click to access fer_0558599.pdf”