Leading with Staff Reports

You'll learn about:

  • Conventional wisdom on what makes a good staff report in contrast to the reality of what actual staff reports contain

  • Results of two national studies of staff reports that examined performance and effectiveness 

  • Highlights of APA’s “Planning Office of the Future” task force report

  • How staff reports can help planners think big and lead effectively

Each year planners write thousands of staff reports explaining their evaluations of development applications to planning commissions and governing bodies. Yet to date there have been only three publications on how to write quality staff reports and no systematic nationwide studies on the topic. This important tool for planners deserves more attention.

This session provides an overview of the existing literature on how to write staff reports, reviews the legal basis for staff reports, and shares excerpts of top-notch staff reports. It also provides tenets—based on APA’s “Planning Office of the Future” task force report—for the next generation of staff reports: experimentation, entrepreneurship, story-telling, and the use of  video and technology.