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Kate Howarth: Get the recognition you deserve by creating an award-winning entry

Kate Howarth is Marketing Manager at the RTPI

The RTPI Awards for Planning Excellence is now in its 47th year and has been a mainstay of the planning profession’s calendar to celebrate success.

Each year our awards campaign aims to improve how we support entrants. Last month we held a ‘How to win’ webinar and this blog is a summary of the key points. Our panellists were 2023 Young Planner of the Year award winner Joshua Singh from Sandwell Council, 2023 judge, independent consultant Catriona Riddell and Lucy Barton-Roberts from the RTPI. 

Why are the Awards for Planning Excellence important?

Catriona Riddell: “We’ve had quite a hard time planning wise in the last few years and not had great press. So, it's fantastic when you look at all the awards that see, recognise, and celebrate how fantastic planners are.”

What opportunities have come from winning?

Joshua Singh: “Being recognised as a young planner leading at the forefront of delivering regeneration in Sandwell, but also us impacting on a national level has opened doors. It’s been fantastic, to talk to people at the very top of the built environment industry.”

When do you feel is the best time to submit an entry?

Catriona Riddell: “From a project perspective, put it in at the time that you think is right, you shouldn't have to submit every year on a big development. You've got to have enough there to be able to judge it properly. I think you can tell the difference between people that are proud of what they're doing and see the reason why they're putting it forward.”

What advice would you give to people looking to enter an individual award?

Joshua Singh: “Be confident about selling what you're doing as an individual and how you're contributing to your region and the outcomes. We're quite an insular profession, so sometimes we don't shout enough about the positivity and the great work that is happening.”

“Really focus on what you've done recently, draw upon your experiences, charity work, voluntary work, outreach work, and what the outcomes are? The critical thing we want to see this year is how have you made a difference as an individual and how you contributed to making a difference? And then just embrace it. For me, it was nice to look back and see what difference it's made. This reflection helped me understand me a bit better.”

Why should more teams and local authorities take part?

Joshua Singh: “For my team, it just gave us a bit of extra kudos, and has empowered the team to keep pushing forward and exploring how we can continue delivering best practice for the communities around us, knowing that we’re being recognised as delivering excellence.”

Catriona Riddell: “I really urge many more local authorities both as individuals, teams, or for developments to put an entry in, because it is really good for morale and boy, do we need it, we need some pepping up here, so I urge you to start to think about putting something in, it's a great experience, and apart from anything else, a celebration of everything you’re doing.”

How important is equality, diversity, and inclusion in entries?

It’s really important. “EDI is something that should be woven in and out of every single answer. So, try and understand how EDI is affected within your team, your project, your plans? Think about that when you're writing your responses.” Lucy Barton-Roberts

Why do you volunteer as a judge?

Catriona Riddell: “It’s a reminder every year, of why I ended up in planning and how amazingly wide-ranging planning is; it's incredible. The contribution planning and planners make to places on every level, from the smallest level, from a team level, from an individual level, from a big consultants and development developer’s level. It’s exciting seeing all these entries coming forward.”

View our tips on how to win.

Find out more about the Awards for Planning Excellence.

Entries close on 15 March 2024

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