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Between 2021-23, the project team has been gathering initial data and other information on the Institute's accreditation policy and procedures from a wide range of sources, under the guidance of the RTPI Education & Lifelong Learning Committee.  This has been Part 1 of the education policy review.  The Board of Trustees then took stock of the project outcomes to date and set up an Oversight Group and agreed the following terms of reference.

This was with the understanding at the end of an ‘Interim Phase’ (which follows Part 1), it is likely that, from 2024, Part 2 of the project will synthesise all current evidence and information and supplement the work with additional consultation, data collection and survey work as appropriate; and further discussion across the Institute's membership and with key stakeholders including the RTPI Membership & Ethics Committee and the RTPI General Assembly.

Part 2 will complete the research and policy development phases of the review. An implementation phase is likely to run to at least 2026 and be developed with those university partners who deliver initial planning education that is accredited by the RTPI.

Part 2 will encompass relevant elements of the APC Review.

Governance and Purpose of this Group

The Board agreed the formation of this Oversight Group in recognition of the conclusions from a diagnostic report completed by Clever Together Consulting in July 2023, towards the end of Part 1 of the project. Eight diagnostic recommendations are set out, in full, in the appendix to the Terms of Reference. The establishment of this Group implements diagnostic recommendation 2.

The purpose of the Group is to provide advice to RTPI officers on the management, engagement and strategic implications of the project, and ensure alignment with relevant RTPI projects and initiatives, rather than undertaking the review itself. It will make recommendations to the RTPI Board of Trustees.

During the ‘Interim Phase’, the Group will consider the issues and outcomes from Part 1 of the review and recommend what more is needed and how to go about it, to reflect the updated scope, in particular taking account of diagnostic recommendation 1 and recommendation 3.

Composition of this Group

All Group members are appointed at the discretion of the Chair of the Board of Trustees. At inception, the Group members are:

  • Chair of the Board of Trustees
  • President
  • Vice-President
  • Chair of the MEC
  • Chair of the ELLC
  • Chair of the Young Planner Chairs Committee
  • Other Trustees or RTPI members at the discretion of the Chair of the Board of Trustees

The Chair of the Board of Trustees will appoint the chair of the Group.

The RTPI Chief Executive, Director of Education & Profession, Director of Communications, Head of Membership, Head of Education will attend all meetings of the Group.

Observers from external stakeholders may be invited, from time to time, at the discretion of the Chair of the Board of Trustees and on advice from the Chief Executive to attend a meeting of the Group.

Timeline for the programme

Following the ‘Interim Phase’, the intention is the completion of the research and policy development phases, by the beginning of the next UK academic year i.e. September 2024 and allow transitional arrangements (implementation phase) to unfold at a pace agreed following consultation with the Planning Schools Forum.

The diagram below indicates the broad phases of the work programme as part of the timeline for Part 1 and Part 2 of the review.

The detail of the next elements of the project (Part 2) have been developed by the group and reported to the RTPI Board of Trustees for approval.


The eight recommendations from the project diagnostic undertaken by Clever Together Consulting are, in full:

Recommendation 1: Rescope the Education Policy Review as a component of a set of wider strategic initiatives, with the intent to build confidence in stakeholders that the RTPI recognises and is already undertaking action across the whole pathway to chartered membership. This rescoping should encompass all the initiatives that attract new planners, retain planners, further educate and train planners throughout their careers, and assess planners for chartered membership.

Recommendation 2: The RTPI should consider establishing a unified governance structure that draws on all the relevant Committees for delivery of the strategic ambitions to increase the number and diversity of planning professionals. This will ensure alignment and demonstrate to stakeholders that the RTPI’s approach is comprehensive of the entirety of pathways to planning careers.

Recommendation 3: Following recommendation 1, the RTPI should develop a clear narrative for the overall strategic change programme and the position that the Education Policy Review has in it. This narrative should be used to frame further engagement and consultation activities. It will be important that this narrative is communicated to the stakeholders in education providers who are not RTPI members.

Recommendation 4: Consultation periods should be sufficient in length to permit organisational stakeholders to consider responses gain internal approval prior to submission.

Recommendation 5: As part of the engagement and consultation in the next stage, the RTPI should make efforts to bring the different stakeholder groups together so that their different perspectives can be shared. This could be done using a number of methods, including face-to-face or online engagement techniques.

Recommendation 6: The RTPI should continue its planned activity to collect and analyse information about the entry and departure of students from planning degrees. This work should be undertaken with the support offered by the Planning Schools Forum to help access information from planning schools.

Recommendation 7: The RTPI should consider the minimum duration of planning degrees in the context of the whole pathway to chartered membership, including continuing professional development, the development activities undertaken in the licentiate stage and the requirements of the APC. In taking this approach, the RTPI should consider the pedagogical approach to teaching, learning and assessment across the whole pathway to chartered membership.

Recommendation 8: The RTPI should reset the timetable for the planned implementation period from September 2023 to September 2024. This will provide the necessary time for a consultation on the proposals and implementation, prior to the Board of Trustees decisions.