Victoria Hills is the Chief Executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute.
Four years ago, we launched the RTPI’s ambitious Corporate Strategy 2020-2030, as our compass through the turbulence of an incoming and uncertain decade. The strategy aimed to guide the Institute towards a promising future, focusing on promoting the value of membership and professionalism, supporting planning services, raising the profile of planning, and promoting equality, diversity, and inclusivity as our central ‘pillars’.
As we approach the five-year mark since the strategy's inception, it's time to reflect on the journey, assess the impact of both domestic and global challenges, and consider whether adjustments are needed to stay on the right course.
Since 2020, with a focus on raising the profile of planning, we’ve launched initiatives like the "Planning For Tomorrow’s Environment" digital series, the "It Takes Planners" campaign, and the "Planning Your World" site to showcase the Institute’s commitment to fostering public understanding of the planning profession. These efforts contribute to a narrative that highlights the crucial role planners play in creating liveable, healthy communities.
In 2020, we set out our goals to be, and promote the planning profession to be, as diverse as the communities it represents, to act inclusively, treat everyone fairly, and seek to provide a culture that delivers the best outcomes for the diverse society in which and for whom we work. To achieve this, we launched our action plan, CHANGE.
Since launching, we’ve piloted a work experience scheme – called EXPLORE - targeting young individuals from diverse backgrounds to explore the rewarding career of a planner. We’ve launched our Inclusive Framework to work with planning employers to design and deliver their own tailored and realistic EDI strategy and support them as they undertake a journey of continuous improvement. And, just last week, our newly inaugurated President in 2024 Lindsey Richards launched the BALANCE education programme, seeking to enhance RTPI's career outreach efforts by reviewing the reach of volunteers and school ambassadors to a greater number of schools and colleges and looking to mainstream future phases of our work experience scheme.
While we believe that this has been a strong start to our Corporate Strategy, we recognise that the world has changed since our initial launch. We’ve seen a global pandemic, continued climate crises, increased conflict and migration around the world, and increased awareness around racism, discrimination, and inequality. Across the UK and Ireland, we have seen an evolving policy framework in which our members work, and whilst we’ve been quick to respond, it's right that we now take stock of where we need to focus our efforts going forward.
It’s clear to anyone who has lived through this constantly shifting period that corporate priorities and objectives cannot only be critiqued and considered once a decade but must be open to more regular reassessment.
January 2025 will mark five years of our corporate strategy. Given the changes in the world, across the built environment sector and more specifically our profession, we think it’s appropriate to review our strategy to make sure that guiding compass is still pointing us in the right direction.
Creating our Corporate Strategy 2020-30 was a substantial exercise that required consultation with our members, stakeholders in government, partners in academia, other professions, members of the public and the third sector. This extensive consultation provided us with a clear direction based on what all these parties said which was reviewed by our officers, General Assembly, committees, regions, nations and Board of Trustees.
For our Corporate Strategy review, we’ll be undertaking a similarly robust process and will begin by asking you, our members, for your opinions.
As an Institute that serves a diverse and international membership, we know that we need to be open to change as the world changes around us, and want your views on what you want to see from your Institute. Together, we can continue to shape the planning profession fit for the future.