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Twenty three young planners get a taste of life at top table

21 February 2019

Twenty local authorities and organisations across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have responded to the call from the RTPI to offer young planners opportunities to gain insight into what it is like to be a Chief Planning Officer.

Twenty three planners in the first 10 years of post-qualification experience have started to work-shadow Chief Planning Officers for a day to understand the challenges and processes in making strategic decisions at senior levels in local government.

The RTPI recently published ‘Chief Planning Officers: The corporate and strategic influence of planning in local authorities’, highlighting planning’s importance as a strategic corporate function. 

Victoria Hills. RTPI Chief Executive, said:

“I am delighted that so many authorities have responded with such enthusiasm to our work to champion good leadership in public sector planning.

“Amid the challenges of Brexit and tight resources, strong, experienced local planning leadership makes all the difference. We’re passionate about putting planning back at the top table, and that’s why it is vitally important to inspire young planners with this ambition and precious career development opportunity.”

Graham Stallwood, Director of Planning and Place at Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, said:

“I’m delighted to support this initiative. Good planning is so important for the future of our communities, as is inspiring a future generation of Chief Planning Officers to build their knowledge and meet the challenges they will face.”

Neil Hemington, Chief Planner at the Welsh Government, said:

“This work-shadowing initiative is a great opportunity for young planners to gain a greater understanding of planning within Government.  We need to ensure that the future generation of planners have the creative and visionary skills and knowledge to take on leadership roles and deliver positive planning on the ground.”

Rebecca Windemer who spent a day with Neil said:

“I had a fantastic day yesterday. I found it extremely useful and even better than I could have expected. The team had put together a really packed programme …Everyone was really happy to spend a lot of talking to me, particularly about my own interests in renewables policy. To be honest I don't think it could be improved.” 

Timon Moss, a young planner who work-shadowed Chris Findley at Salford City Council said:

“Young planners like myself need all the experience they can get to thrive in a field as broad as planning. I enjoyed hearing about the challenges facing Chief Planners and learning how such major decisions are being made. We need more mentoring opportunities for the planning sector to build its resilience against growing skills gaps.”

Participating organisations are: Salford City Council, Trafford Council, Warwick District Council, Derby City Council, Basingstoke Council, Bath and North East Somerset Council, Nottingham City Council, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council, Staffordshire County Council, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council, Brent Council, London Borough of Bromley, Enfield Council, Glasgow City Council, Edinburgh City Council, Fife Council, Welsh Government, Cardiff City Council, Camden Council and Belfast City Council.