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Why our agreement with BAME Planners Network is so important

Machel Bogues. RTPI Equality, Diversity and Inclusivity Manager


In March 2020 we launched our CHANGE action plan setting out a clear pathway to make real our vision:

To be, and promote the planning profession to be, as diverse as the communities it represents, to act inclusively, treating everyone fairly and seeking to provide a culture which delivers the best outcomes for the diverse society in which and for whom we work.

To successfully deliver CHANGE it is vital that we do at least two things:

  1. Understand how our members and planners of Black and Asian heritage and Minority Ethnic communities experience the planning profession.
  2. That we build strong, purposeful relationships with partner

Our close relationship with the network has already provided us with valuable insight into the experiences of planners from Asian, Black and Minority Ethnic communities; we are delighted relationship has now been formalized in a written agreement.

Workshops and listening sessions

Following their formation in August 2020 the BAME Planners Network worked with us to hold a series of workshops and listening sessions with their members. What we learned from those sessions was both enlightening and troubling; it was clear that the profession, of which we are rightly proud, is not always the universally welcoming and inclusive space that we had, perhaps, imagined it to be.

We heard of people being   overlooked for promotions despite being more qualified than the eventual successful candidate. We heard from network members who have been excluded from professional and social events or groups by colleagues and management. We heard from colleagues that they must work twice as hard for the same level of recognition. We heard people say clearly that this was based on their racial or ethnic identity.

As a professional membership institute this was not easy to hear, but it was necessary. We cannot begin to make CHANGE if we are not prepared to have honest, robust, meaningful, and difficult conversations about the experiences of everyone working in the planning profession.

Engagement and collaboration

One of the things that the Memorandum of Understanding with the BAME Planners Network will allow us to do is to create platforms and spaces to have those conversations; to raise awareness across the profession about the different, and too often negative, experiences that planners from Asian, Black and Minority Ethnic communities have had. 

Of course, conversations only become meaningful when they result in action and the MoU setting out, as it does clear, terms of engagement and areas for collaboration lays a firm foundation for how we can work together.

The formalization of our relationship with BAME Planners network is an important step in our journey to having a diverse, inclusive and representative profession and we are looking forward to working with the Network to make CHANGE.                                                                                                                                               

You can download the signed MOU here.                                                                         

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