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The Big Conversation

The wellbeing of planners and the impact on the planning system in Wales

Responding to a request by Julie James MS, Minister for Climate Change, to understand the well-being of planners in Wales operating under challenging circumstances, RTPI Cymru has explored the issues, impacts, causes and potential solutions to support the profession deliver the planning system in Wales, through the Big Conversation. The Big Conversation aims to better understand the pressures being faced and undertake a health check of the profession in Wales; it provides a detailed evidence base on which to take action.  It provides indicators of action which could be taken by a range of stakeholders.

The Big Conversation found high levels of planners being overstretched in their work and this was having an impact on their well-being. 

  • 61% of all respondents reported being overstretched at least several times a week
  • 74% of LPA officers felt overstretched
  • 21% of all respondents felt they were overstretched all of the time.

The need for planning to become more resilient as a profession was identified and particularly the resilience of planning officers in relation to handling difficult situations and high expectations.

While the Big Conversation identified weaknesses, it is also clear that services continue to be delivered and planners take pride in their role and they value what they are delivering.

Alarming levels of harassment were also identified as being reported by those working in planning,  partly encouraged through social media, as well as intimidation, raising safety issues. The increasing levels of formal and informal complaints is having an impact on workload and time resource.

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