Notifying for Further Submissions

  • Summarising submissions for notifying for further submissions is an important part of the process: errors can ripple out for years. The golden rule of summarising submissions is check, check and check again. It must be done by professionals with appropriate skills. In particular, decisions requested by submitters must be summarised verbatim, even if the wording is unclear, poor or incorrect (for example, incorrect rule numbers used). Avoid interpreting or correcting submissions. Potential errors should be identified early, and corrected only after the written agreement of the submitter. 
  • Support the formal notification process with a good summary of decisions requested by submitters, indexed and easy to check: for example, submissions should be sorted by the type of relief sought, and the summary indexed both alphabetically and numerically. 
  • The summary should be generally accessible to the community. Councils must publicly notify the availability of the summary of decisions to all submitters. The notice must also indicate where the summary can be inspected. One technique is to have multiple copies available at libraries, for lending as well as reference. Online versions can be used as well, especially if supplemented with a search system. In addition, people often want to see the full submission, so copies need to be made available as well. 
  • Inform people about the purpose of further submissions, to avoid confusion and later problems. People need to understand they cannot make fresh submissions, but must submit in opposition to, or in support of, specific requests for decisions made by submitters. People also need to be clear of the limitations on who can make further submissions. 
  • The decisions sought by submitters can have significant repercussions, about which a public notice may not be particularly good at disseminating. For example, submissions seeking a rezoning of land may have implications for landowners/residents in the vicinity. However, it would be inappropriate to simply directly notify people. A council needs to consider ways of raising awareness about matters raised in submissions. One technique is to produce a map of rezoning requests in a city or district for media release.