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RTPI steps up diversity and inclusivity action

17 July 2019

The RTPI has appointed specialist diversity and inclusion consultant Brook Graham to draw up an action plan to help increase the diversity of the planning profession, in close consultation with its members across the different regions and nations.

The RTPI committed publicly last November to increase the diversity of the planning profession in a vision statement.

The appointment of Brook Graham will help drive forward and implement the vision with a comprehensive action plan that covers external and internal activities, including apprenticeship and education activities, RTPI’s internal governance, young planners and ambassadorial programmes, and research.

The action plan will be informed by research into barriers to getting involved with and advancing in the planning profession, as well as benchmarking studies with other professional sectors.

In-depth interviews will be carried out with employers and planners around issues such as recruitment and retention, leadership development, and supply chain to gauge the current “diversity maturity” of the profession.

Sue Manns, RTPI Board Champion on Diversity and Inclusivity, said:

“A planning profession which is more representative of society is crucial to bring about more inclusive and accessible design, housing and public environments. 

“The work of Brook Graham will help us gain a better understanding of what progress has been made, what the gaps are and where the important levers for change might be. More importantly, it will align our diversity actions with the Institute’s corporate priorities and external best practices to bring positive change to society.”

Stuart Affleck, Director of Brook Graham, said:

"Diversity and inclusion is about understanding and valuing the range of talents, skills and experiences of every individual. RTPI's wholehearted commitment to diversity and inclusion has created an opportunity to bring change to the planning profession and to the people of the communities it supports. We look forward to building on the steps that have already been taken through implementing a strategy designed to deliver tangible benefit and sustainable change."

According to RTPI’s UK Planning Profession 2019 study, membership is 39% female and 7% BAME. Across planning schools and new entrants to the profession there is generally a 50:50 split between men and women. Student members, especially those of BAME backgrounds, are also growing rapidly.

Brook Graham is a leading diversity and inclusion consultancy specialising in the strategic management of D&I for companies worldwide. Its global team of consultants deliver projects that often require complex organisational culture change.

The action plan and the research findings that underpin it will be presented to RTPI key stakeholders in a series of workshops.