The 2021 awards highlight exceptional examples of how planning and planners have a positive impact on our quality of life in creating exceptional places and protecting our environment. In recognising and rewarding excellence we aim to inspire others to achieve the same high standards.
The award results were announced on You Tube on 1 December 2021. Watch again below:
Read more below about the 2021 winners
Entered by: Quod
Quod was established in 2010 with the vision that we would offer a different approach to planning consultancy. Quod is centred around six values – integrity, pride, excellence, invest, wellbeing and fun. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) is integrated into each of these values.
To ensure EDI forms a strong foundation for our work we have created working groups to explore ways in which Quod can address the challenges surrounding inclusion in the workforce. The aim is to make Quod an even more inclusive, diverse and enjoyable place to work for all. The EDI team has sub-groups which champion various initiatives – these include the gender pay gap, racial equity, disability, recruitment, office culture, and the physical office working environment. Awareness of these issues has improved our approach to work, encouraging inclusivity and representation of the communities that we work in.
Entered by: Hybrid Planning & Development
Hybrid was established to offer a fresh perspective and strong female voice for the planning profession. Directors wanted to focus on people, providing opportunity, enjoyment and aspiration. To sustain an inclusive environment, Hybrid operates a bottom-to-top decision-making model so that everyone can speak openly, have opinions, ask questions and learn from the collective experience.
Hybrid’s dynamic team of ten represents professionals at every career level, including three who are RTPI Chartered. But career paths aren’t the only differential. Hybrid’s employees come from across the world including Brazil, Scotland, USA and Wales which significantly helps broaden understanding of neurodiversity and cultural sensitivities. They come from different educational backgrounds, have different religious beliefs, are working parents, students – people from all lifestyles, which is very indicative of the London make-up where most of the firm’s work is based. The directors’ approach has always been to embrace diversity, and the flexitime structure the firm uses fosters a healthy work/life balance.
Congratulations Hybrid Planning and Development
Entered by: Deloitte London Planning Team
The Deloitte London Planning Team has 24 members, 20 chartered by the RTPI. The Team comprises a diverse group of individuals who work on projects in London and across the UK. Throughout 2020, the team has taken steps to ensure it remains close together, despite working from home across London and the wider south east. This has included frequent sub team drop in calls that offer opportunities for informal catch ups that could easily be missed whilst working from home.
The team also has weekly planning team meetings where the team come together to share news stories, project updates and continued professional development opportunities. These weekly meetings also allow time for topical discussions. A good example of this is during mental health awareness week the team were encouraged to dial into the meeting whilst on a walk and team members shared and discussed the challenges they have been facing over lockdown.
Entered by: BPTW Planning Team
The BPTW Planning team consists of hard-working individuals with extensive knowledge of the planning industry and outstanding client-handling skills. To promote a culture of inclusion and diversity, the team maintains a 50/50 gender split across all hierarchy levels and employs people at different stages in their careers so that their talents can be nurtured.
As part of this, the Planning team actively recruits at graduate level and supports staff through their RTPI qualification and beyond. The team currently has two members who have been with the practice for ten years, having been recruited early in their careers and developed through the practice’s programme of internal and external training. This year, the team were pleased to promote one of these team members to Senior Associate.
Looking to newer members of the team, in the last year, the Planning team has onboarded several staff members who have benefitted from working closely with senior colleagues and through meeting as a team in the office where government restrictions have permitted.
Entered by: London Borough of Redbridge
In 2019, Redbridge’s DM and technical team was crumbling. With a planning application volume 160% more than the London average, the team was drowning in complaints, queries and backlogs. How did this crumbling team transform into an award-winning service? It began with a belief that things could improve and a sustained effort to turn that belief into an outstanding community service. The department was reorganised, structured weeks were implemented, problem-sharing was encouraged, capacity was scrutinised and everyone was tasked with using their time in the most efficient way possible. But none of this would have been possible without an outstanding DM team that is representative of the diverse borough they serve.
The DM team is diverse in gender, race, age and religion. The team use each other’s strengths and local knowledge to best serve their customers. 30 percent of permanent members of staff across the DM and technical team are from a BAME background and team members belong to different religious communities. The team have recently employed two new members of staff from the local area through the government’s Kickstart scheme. By recruiting local talent into the technical team, the managers can then develop their skills and support them to become planners – increasing their professional satisfaction. The team has created an inclusive environment where levels of staff retention are high. The team’s transformation has meant that the validation backlog has reduced from 350 to 20, caseload from 1,000 to 500, and validation processing from 48 weeks to 5 weeks.
Congratulations London Borough of Redbridge
Entered by: London Borough of Barnet
The team is very diverse which reflects the Barnet population. In 2020, the borough population was 40.3% Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME). The team is 60% BAME and 50% female. The group in Barnet is about as far removed as it can be from the now rather dated stereotype of what an enforcement team looks like. Over the last year members of the team have experienced maternity, paternity and mental health challenges on top of the strains felt by everyone in what might come to regarded as one of the most challenging years of the 21st century. These circumstances have been embraced not as threats to output but as opportunities to learn, grow and develop together; to learn new ways of working as a team, helping one another and to listen to fresh or previously unheard perspectives. In 2021 the deputy manager’s contribution to the team was recognised by ‘the Planner’ Magazine when she was described as a ‘woman of influence’ in planning.
To help the general wellbeing of the organisation after the Black Lives Matter movement, there was a listening and learning together sessions which were born. Since then, there have been many topics for discussion such as: Work life after lockdown, LGBTQ+ in the workplace, Women at Work and Unconscious Bias.
During lockdown team members were able to work from Ghana and Alaska during restrictions without undue impact on performances.
Congratulations London Borough of Barnet
Sara Sweeney - Kitewood Estates
In October 2011 Sara graduated from the University of Dundee with an MSc in Spatial Planning (Merit). At that time, the opportunities to secure graduate employment in Scotland were bleak however, Sara showed real grit and determination to progress in the profession, and she secured an internship with Turley in Edinburgh and then in June 2012 went on to secure a graduate role within the retail team of a London based consultancy before joining the strategic land team at Persimmon Homes as Graduate Planner in March 2013. Sara became a chartered Member of the RTPI in December 2014 and was promoted to Strategic Planner at Persimmon. Sara currently leads planning at Kitewood Estates where she has been employed since Feb 2016.
Sara has a thorough understanding of the planning policy context, plan-making and the overall planning system in England along with a fair knowledge of Scottish system.
Sara’s experience of working in-house for a national housebuilder and more recently a privately owned development company based in the City of London has afforded her the opportunity to work on and lead multidisciplinary teams on a variety of complex residential and mixed-use development schemes in London and the wider South East. Sara therefore has a very good comprehension of viability matter and the integral nature of viability to the delivery of development.
Congratulations Sara Sweeney
Category sponsored by Iceni Projects
Hannah Fawdon - Hybrid Planning & Developoment
Hannah Fawdon is a senior planner at Hybrid Planning & Development. She is an exceptional young planner with a promising career. Educated at the University of St Andrews, Hannah completed her BSc in Geography in 2014 before undertaking her Masters in Urban & Regional Planning with Heriot-Watt University, for which she was awarded an RTPI bursary.
Hannah’s professional career includes in-house and consultancy positions, including with high-profile national companies such as EDF Energy and Iceni. Hannah joined Hybrid in September 2020 and within six months, was promoted to senior planner.
“Hannah is such a team player, she’s really hardworking and nothing is ever too much trouble so our decision to promote her was an easy one,” said Hybrid’s director and co-founder, Danielle St Pierre. “Her contribution to our team is absolutely invaluable; she’s insightful, trustworthy, unflappable and above all, really understands the planning system and how to achieve the best results for our clients. If I could clone her, I would!”...
Category sponsored by Iceni Projects
Hannah Northrop - London Southbank University
Hannah entered Town planning in 2015 and finished her qualification in 2018. Within a short period of time Hannah has experienced a plethora of roles within planning including working as a planning consultant at Ingleton wood to provide a full range of planning services with a wealth of experience, spanning all major sectors, with a particular focus on residential development include social housing developments.
Within the planning consultant role Hannah was particularly proud of her achievements within her wider team of providing the planning for 38 affordable homes at the former Stowmarket middle school site which was redundant since the closure of the school in summer 2015.
The sustainable development consisted of a mix of affordable housing – to be offered either as shared ownership, or as social or affordable housing, in order to help households on low to moderate incomes. The development also included a scheme of sustainability measures such as electric car charging points across the site. Hannah’s role included writing the planning statement, liaising with the council, completing a public consultation event and presenting at the committee. In addition Hannah has also completed the coordination and submission of a range of planning applications including EIA applications, as a mineral and waste planning at Norfolk County Council planning officer. This role was key in providing a link between Environmental sciences and Planning a key area of interest for Hannah.
Category sponsored by Iceni Projects