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PR 51 - Skills shortage remedies

24 July 2008

The CLG Committee's Planning Matters Report highlights the need for a professionally qualified planner to be on the executive team of every local authority. It also reveals that the Government needs to commit more resources to attracting new people into planning and provide more funds to help existing planning professionals develop their skills.

RTPI Director of Education and Lifelong Learning Sue Percy said: \"We agree with the Committee's conclusion that the Government needs to take resolute action to address the shortage of planners and help the sector make planning a more attractive career option and enhance the skills of those already in the profession. The RTPI is taking steps to address this issue and has been for some time. There are more than 3,500 students currently in planning schools across the UK, more than 1,600 licentiates are in the process of achieving professional accreditation and a further seven universities are looking to join the 26 which have so far received RTPI accreditation for their planning courses.

\"As the report points out there have been some fundamental failings in enticing people into the planning profession and local authorities have struggled to retain staff. Part of the reason for that has been a lack of investment in promoting planning as a profession as well as a failure to provide adequate resources to fund continuous professional development programmes to help planners to progress their careers. Hopefully this report will prompt Government to commit greater resources to these areas.

\"The Committee is right to identify the need to raise the general status of planning within local government. The failure by many local authorities to have a professionally qualified planner at executive director level has had an enormously deleterious effect on the profession in the public sector. It has diminished the visibility and voice of planners within the local decision making process and limited the career progression opportunities for those planners in middle management roles. Making sure that all local authorities have a professionally qualified planner on the executive team is essential and would help councils provide a better service for local communities and the right support for their planning staff.\"      

For further information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Dale Atkinson, RTPI Communications Manager, 0207 929 9479 dale.atkinson@rtpi.org.uk

Notes to Editors:

1.       The RTPI's submission to the CLG Committee is available from here.

2.       The RTPI is a dynamic organisation leading the way in the creation of places that work now and in the future. We understand that just as people develop places, so places develop people.  We are committed to the enhancement of our natural and human environment, using spatial planning to manage competing pressures on our built environments and the very real effects on our space.  Through our 20,000 members, we constantly seek to create areas and places in which people want to live and work.

For further general information, visit the RTPI website at: www.rtpi.org.uk

41 Botolph Lane, London, EC3R 8DL, charity no. 262865.

Charity registered in Scotland: SC 037841