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Architecture and Design Scotland's (A&DS) consideration about the confidentiality of pre-application discussions under Freedom of Information rules is not threatening its future (AJ 23.06.05).

A&DS has a wider remit than design review and will develop its enabling, advocacy, research and communication roles shortly.

A&DS' aim is to see good-quality outcomes, and we will not shrink from offering robust comment and advice. We welcome feedback on our work, and we will continue to encourage early confidential discussions to enable free and frank exchanges.

One significant difference between A&DS and its predecessor body is enshrined in SPP 20, which states: 'The development industry, as well as decision makers on planning applications and appeals, must demonstrate what account has been taken of the views of A&DS.' This may have made the sector more alert, and improved the quality of public debate.

Sebastian Tombs, chief executive, Architecture and Design Scotland

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