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Planning Aid Scotland announce appointment of new chief executive


Johanna Boyd joins after a high-profile career in law and politics.

An experienced barrister and solicitor is set to take on a leading role at a charity and social enterprise that helps people to navigate the planning system.

PAS (Planning Aid Scotland) has announced the appointment of Johanna Boyd as its new chief executive. 

She succeeds Petra Biberbach who is stepping down after successfully leading the organisation for the last 18 years.

Johanna brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the role of chief executive. 

She is a dual-qualified English barrister and Scottish solicitor, practised as a barrister at a leading set of chambers in London for 10 years, specialising in planning, administrative and public law, and local government law, and ranked as a leading planning junior in the Legal 500.

On returning to Scotland, Johanna was the first woman to lead Stirling Council and the youngest council leader in Scotland at that time. 

As council leader, she secured a historic £214m City Region Deal for Stirling and Clackmannanshire, closed the gender pay gap for council employees, amongst other achievements.

Following her decision to move on from politics, Johanna worked with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) on a programme of work to ensure that equalities best practices are embedded into City Region and Growth Deals.

Incoming chief executive, Johanna Boyd, said: “I am very happy to be joining PAS and taking on the role of Chief Executive. I’m a long supporter of the excellent work of PAS to help individuals and communities navigate the planning system. I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead PAS in its work towards a more inclusive society where communities are at the heart of decision-making about their places.”

“I look forward to working with the board and staff team at PAS, as well as supporting the fantastic and unique PAS volunteer network, a network of planners and built environment professionals who give their time and skills to help individuals and communities across Scotland.”

Johanna now joins PAS from the Government, Regulation and Competition team at Brodies LLP, where she regularly advised across public, private and third sectors on all aspects of planning, administrative, public, local government and regulatory law.

Following an extensive and open recruitment process, the successful appointment was made by members of the PAS Chairs Group and unanimously welcomed by the Board of Directors.

PAS Chair, John Bury, said: “Johanna brings a compelling combination of skills and leadership experience to the role of Chief Executive, with notable achievements in planning law, local government, community development and equalities. We are delighted to announce Johanna’s appointment and are very confident that she will lead and grow the organisation in a new and exciting direction.

“As Petra Biberbach steps down after 18 years of developing PAS into the successful organisation we have today, she can move onto her next role in the knowledge that the good work will continue under the dynamic leadership of Johanna Boyd.”

Johanna will take up the post of Chief Executive on 3 October 2022.



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