Industry unites to deliver revised design review principles and practice

The Cabe team at the Design Council, the Landscape Institute, the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Royal Institute of Architects (RIBA) have joined forces to produce an update to the widely acknowledged, industry standard best practice delivering Design Review; ‘Design Review, Principles and Practice’.

The publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012 re-iterated and reinforced the role of Design Review in ensuring high standards of design. The new guide lines clearly sets out the updated 10 principles that underpin the independent and effective delivery of the process and provides authoritative advice for Design Review panels of all types to help them operate in a consistent way and to uphold the quality of the independent, expert advice that they provide.

The new best practice advice represents a cross-sector, industry-led effort to condense and update core advicein light of both the NPPF and Taylor Review, setting a precedent for a focus on the key principles necessary to deliver on the ambition set out within the NPPF.

John Mathers, Chief Executive of the Design Council, commented:

'We’re delighted to publish this updated Design Review guidance based on Cabe’s best practice, in collaboration with RIBA, the Landscape Institute, and the RTPI. Following its inclusion in the NPPF, Design Review is now a key part of the planning process, and is essential to the delivery of quality places. The guidance aims to ensure the consistency and quality of advice offered by design review panels across the UK. We are pleased to continue our collaboration with RIBA the Landscape Institute and the RTPI, and this is a good example of how industry can work together to produce best practice guidance in the future.'

Sue Illman, President of the Landscape Institute, said: “This updated design review guidance, the product of extensive collaboration between four key organisations, will help ensure the development of places that are socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. In helping to underpin the principles of the NPPF, it is not focused exclusively on buildings but on the wider public realm and landscape; and acknowledges that good design cannot be separated from good planning. The ten updated principles will help panels provide consistent advice, which will help new schemes deliver the highest standards of design – which means better places for people.'

Colin Haylock, Immediate Past President of the RTPI, said:

'Design is now an integral part of urban planning. There will be few schemes which have not benefited or could not have been improved by it. ‘Design Review, Principles and Practice’, significantly backed by key cross-sector organisations, reiterates the underlying 10 principles for good Design Review to help guide design panels and built environment professionals to encourage consistently high quality schemes.'

Welcoming the launch of the report RIBA President Angela Brady said:

'Design review is a hugely valuable tool, which has had a proven track record of improving the quality of schemes. The process has been strengthened significantly by its inclusion within the NPPF, so it is now more important than ever that panels are administered in the most effective, professional and consistent way possible. The revised guidance is an important step in achieving this and is a great example of the collaborative, cross-sector guidance that will be needed to ensure delivery of the NPPF'

Key changes included in the new Design Review guidance include:

  • A revision of the 10 principles of design review, which are now firmly the focus of the document – as is the crucial definition of good design review.
  • The removal of the old principle 9 (focused on outcomes for people) and principle 10 (focused on improving quality) which have been replaced with ‘Multidisciplinary’ and ‘Transparent’.
  • A re-structuring of the document to focus on outlining the principles that should constitute core planning guidance on Design Review, followed by clear, concise and accessible advice on how to deliver them
  • The role of design review in the planning system has been updated in light of the NPPF and the importance attached to the use of design review arrangements at a local and national level


Notes to editors

  • Please contact Howard Crosskey at RIBA for more information
  • To download a copy of the guidance please visit:
  • The Design Council is a charity which enables people to use design to transform communities, business and the environment for the better. Its work places design at the heart of creating value by stimulating innovation in business and public services, improving the built environment and tackling complex social issues. The Design Council inspires new design thinking, encourages public debate and informs government policy to improve everyday life and help meet tomorrow’s challenges today. Cabe is the successor to CABE, the Government’s advisor on architecture and the built environment, which merged with the Design Council in April 2011.
  • The Landscape Institute is the royal chartered body for landscape architects. It campaigns to protect, conserve and enhance the natural and built environment for public benefit and is part of the government’s Green Infrastructure Partnership. Visit or follow the LI on Twitter @talklandscape
  • With 23,000 members worldwide working in the public, private, charitable and education sectors, the RTPI is the largest professional institute for planners in Europe As well as promoting spatial planning, RTPI develops and shapes policy affecting the built and natural environment, works to raise professional standards and supports members through continuous education, training and development. For further general information, visit the RTPI website at: RTPI is a charity registered in England 262865 and Scotland SC 03784
  • The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) champions better buildings, communities and the environment through architecture and our members. Visit and follow us on Twitter @RIBA for regular updates and news.