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Resourcing Public Planning

Resourcing for planning

This page refers to research and recommendations relating to local planning authorities in England. RTPI Scotland has also published a related analysis for Scotland.

The project

The National Audit Office recently concluded that the planning system was failing to meet the Government's targets, mostly because of a major lack of resourcing. Recent RTPI research on Investing in Delivery has highlighted the cuts facing local government in England. Meanwhile, our research on the Value of Planning has highlighted what can be achieved through investment in planning.

This project explored the current level of resourcing of planning and what level of resourcing might be needed to deliver the places and homes we need. It considers:

  • how local authorities fund planning in England;
  • the number of planners in the UK and investment in planning overall, with comparison to the wider UK development sector and international comparisons (drawing on our research on The Planning Profession in 2019);
  • what outcomes planning should be able to achieve and what approach to resourcing might deliver them.

The findings are written up in Resourcing Public Planning: Five stories about local authority planning in England and recommendations for the next chapter, that raises the issues of:

  1. underinvestment in planning by the local authorities;
  2. local planning authorities' spending being reshaped by budget cuts, shifting from policymaking towards development management;
  3. public planning being increasingly reliant on income from development management;
  4. the regional imbalance in funding for planning;
  5. the shift of the planning profession towards the private sector;

The paper highlights as well the potential of planning as a way of delivering against central and local government's objectives, and presents some suggestion to activate this potential.

You can also see findings on resourcing of local planning authorities in Scotland here.




Five Lessons

The research was conducted by Tom Kenny.

For further information, contact the author at:


Five stories about local authority planning in England and recommendations for the next chapter


Download the full paper here

Read the full paper online