Panel Principles

The purpose and focus of a Quality Review Panel is to develop and explore how quality of built environment can be enhanced and improved. To ensure the success of a Quality Review Panel, it must be executed in a robust process to achieve high standards in quality of its advice.

Quality Review Principles have been developed for Review Panels throughout the UK to ensure standards can be defined and followed. The below sets out eleven principles to which panel members and participants must follow:

  1. Independent – it is conducted by people who are unconnected with the scheme’s promoters and decision makers, and it ensures that conflicts of interest do not arise.
  2. Expert - the advice is delivered by suitably trained people who are experienced in design, who know how to criticise constructively and whose standing and expertise is widely acknowledged.
  3. Multidisciplinary - the advice combines the different perspectives of architects, urban designers, town planners, landscape architects, engineers and other specialist experts to provide a complete, rounded assessment.
  4. Accountable - the Design Review Panel and its advice must be clearly seen to work for the benefit of the public. This should be ingrained within the panel’s terms of reference.
  5. Impartial - the advice is informed by independent experts, people who are unconnected with the scheme’s promoters and decision makers, and it ensures that any potential conflicts of interest are managed in an open and transparent way.
  6. Transparent – the panel’s remit, membership, governance processes and funding should always be in the public domain.
  7. Proportionate – it is used on projects whose significance, at either a local or national level, warrants the investment needed to provide the service.
  8. Timely - the advice is conveyed as early as possible in the design process, because this can avoid a great deal of wasted time. It also costs less to make changes at an early stage.
  9. Advisory - the Design Review Panel does not make decisions, but it offers impartial advice for the people who do.
  10. Objective – it appraises schemes according to reasoned, objective criteria rather than the stylistic tastes of individual panel members.
  11. Accessible – its findings and advice are clearly expressed in terms that design teams, decision makers and clients can all understand and use.

Design Review Principles and Practice, Design Council CABE / Landscape Institute / RTPI / RIBA (2013)

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