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Volunteer roles

In order to meet the diverse needs of individuals and communities we need a range of volunteers with different skill sets, interests and expertise.  There are opportunities available to volunteers of all RTPI membership classes – from student members at the start of their planning careers to retired members with extensive planning experience. 

What can I do as a volunteer?

Our volunteer roles are evolving constantly to reflect volunteer feedback, the needs of those we help and changes in the planning systems.

The current volunteer opportunities we offer fit into the following broad categories:

  1. Casework
  2. Consultation and community engagement
  3. Developing resources and guidance
  4. Delivering training
  5. Neighbourhood planning support


Casework volunteering involves providing planning advice on specific proposals or projects to individuals or groups deemed eligible for casework support. Advice can be provided over the phone, in writing, or in person, depending on the requirements of the case. Advice may be sought on a range of issues including making appeal applications, advising on enforcement issues and making effective representations on planning applications

Consultation and community engagement

This volunteering activity involves assisting with the delivery of community engagement and consultation events such as Local Plan consultations or capacity building workshops for local community groups effected by planning proposals.

Developing and/or reviewing resources and guidance

This volunteering activity involves producing new resource material or updating existing material to reflect changes to the planning system. This could take the form of briefing notes, website content, or PowerPoint presentations for training events. 

Delivering training

This involves delivering training to a range of audiences including Parish and Town Councillors, community organisations and members of the public. Volunteers may be involved in devising suitable training materials or may be asked to work from or adapt given templates. Training could cover various aspects of the planning system including planning policy, development management and nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs).  It could also include support with organising local volunteer training events.

Neighbourhood planning support

This volunteering activity includes delivering training on neighbourhood planning to individuals, communities and councillors as well as discrete opportunities for bespoke support to communities developing a neighbourhood plan, such as supporting consultation or community engagement activity or providing technical advice.

In addition to the five volunteer activities described above, volunteers may also be invited to:

  1. Mentor less experienced PAE volunteers
  2. Share experiences of volunteering for PAE in promotion of the service

Do I need to be MRTPI?

You don't need to be a Chartered member of the RTPI (i.e. MRTPI) to volunteer with PAE, but to ensure we offer the best service and for professional indemnity reasons, only Chartered members of the RTPI can give professional planning advice on behalf of PAE. However, there are many other exciting and fulfilling ways to help support Planning Aid England which do not include giving specific professional planning advice.

Getting involved

If you're interested in volunteering for PAE, but not yet registered, see how to apply for details.