Planning inspectors to shine light on hotel room standards

Planning inspectors to shine light on hotel room standards

Prospect is surveying members in the Planning Inspectorate to find out if hotels booked through the civil service booking system are up to scratch.

The survey follows a motion that was passed at the last branch conference.

It called on branch reps to raise the issue with management and insist that the booking system should include more information on minimum hotel room standards, including desk space and lighting.

Planning Inspectorate branch president Hilda Higenbottam said: “Members in the Planning Inspectorate regularly spend several days, or even weeks, staying in hotels for work reasons. 

“Often the information provided is just not detailed enough to enable us to judge whether the accommodation will be appropriate. Our members need reasonable desk space and good lighting to work, as well as somewhere that is safe, clean, quiet and comfortable.”

The booking system used across the civil service is provided by Corporate Travel Management Ltd, formerly Redfern.

Redfern was awarded a four-year contract in November 2011 to deliver travel services to 17 central government departments and about 600 arm’s length bodies. The contract was renewed in 2015.

PINS’ travel and subsistence policy sets out the expected standards for accommodation:

  • hot or cold breakfast available
  • lockable door and security solution (ie peep hole or security chain)
  • en-suite facilities, including shower
  • intercom/emergency communication solution (the ability to communicate with reception without leaving the room)
  • tea/coffee making facilities
  • television and remote control
  • wardrobe/hanging space
  • work area and chair
  • non-smoking room
  • up-to-date fire and safety regulations/evacuation plan visible in room
  • good decorative order and clean room on arrival
  • light switch accessible from the bed
  • adjustable temperature control/solution (ie fan or air conditioning).

The survey also asks members to indicate other requirements that should be added to hotel criteria including: a fridge to store medicine; rooms within the same building as the reception; 24-hour reception/night porter; low noise levels; evening meal available on-site; suitable access for those with a disability or long term health condition; safe, secure and well-lit parking available on site or close by.