Women in Planning Official

Women in Planning Committee members included on RTPI The Planner’s Women of Influence list 2018

The Planner’s Women of Influence 2018 has been published to mark International Women’s Day on the 08 March. The list includes incredible women from across the planning profession. Women in Planning are very proud to announce that members of our Committee Branches and Co-Founders have been included:

Jill Bell MRTPI – chair of Women in Planning in the North West and consultant with HGH Consulting.

Mary Fortune MRTPI – chair of Women in Planning, London and senior planner with Savills.

Emma Langmaid MRTPI – chair of Women in Planning South Wales and director of Prospero Planning.

Alison Mackay MRTPI – co-founder of Women in Planning and senior planner with Colliers International; active with RTPI London.

Charlotte Morphet MRTPI – co-founder of the expanding Women in Planning network and principal policy planner at the London Borough of Waltham Forest; RTPI General Assembly member.

Sarah Reid – planning barrister with Kings Chambers, with a particular specialism in highways law; mentor to colleagues at Kings and board member of Women in Planning North West.

See the full list of inspiration women here: https://www.theplanner.co.uk/features/the-planners-women-of-influence-2018

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event write up

Deeds for not words – How we Press for Progress

The theme for International Women’s Day this year was #pressingforprogress. It is a strong call for action for 2018, to make sure we “press forward and progress for gender parity[1] by motivating everyone to think, act and be gender inclusive.

Women in Planning London celebrated the day by attending the Suffragettes exhibition ‘Votes for Women’ at the Museum of London. It was great to have attendees from the committee and membership to celebrate the day.

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The exhibition was a celebration of the sacrifices these brave women made to ensure that some women had the vote through an insightful documentary. I recommend every woman visits and watches the documentary.

What I took away from the visiting was that to press for progress we need to find out inner Suffragettes. Words around gender equality are great but we need deeds.  Deeds like the Diversity Pledge set up the Future of London and speaker networks like Women Talk Real Estate. We need more initiatives like this in planning and related professions to press for progress.

Charlotte Morphet, Co-Founder Women in Planning.

[1] https://www.internationalwomensday.com

 

Article

International Women’s Day – Striving for greater levels of gender parity in Planning

In the last year we have seen more exposure to strong global movements for gender equality across various professions, with the launch of #MeToo and #TimesUp we have witnessed how powerful women can be when they come together to be heard. In similar spirit this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) is also focusing on the issue of gender parity, motivating us all to #PressforProgress in our chosen professions.  So, there is no doubt that this year’s IWD will continue to be an important one!

That’s not to say the planning profession, hasn’t pushed for gender parity up until now. The current Chief Executive Trudi Elliot has made this her mission through out her leadership of the Institute. Even still within the Institute, women only make up approximately 38% of the total membership.[1]  More generally, women are becoming increasingly prominent in planning and, better still, more women are in senior positions within the profession and talent is being retained.

However gender parity can, and should, go further.

Case in point: the 2017 membership survey conducted by the Institute revealed that one-in-four women see gender inequality as a barrier to their professional development or their career progression. Greater numbers of women in planning means nothing if they cannot be supported to develop and progress in their careers, whether those are senior leadership roles or just getting more responsibility at work. This is why the North West Branch’s next event is so important as it focuses on “Planning your Career” and providing support to women working in the planning profession.

We must to continue to identify and remove the barriers that women face, especially in our profession. Alongside that, we should continue to recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in planning. In turn, women’s visibility and prominence will rise even further – truly levelling the playing field.

We can only achieve that through embedding inclusion and equality of opportunity into everything we do; planning and the built environment will benefit as a result.

This is something that Women in Planning is striving for.  Our Proud of Women series has been the first step on our journey to improving the visibility and prominence of women within our profession.  Moving forwards our latest series, When Women Plan London, will highlight the women’s achievements in planning, as well as focusing on how women have been instrumental in helping shape the city in which we live.

Women in Planning are also proud to say we are involved with three IWD events, two of which are in London and the third being Manchester expanding our visibility within planning.

[1] http://www.rtpi.org.uk/about-the-rtpi/

Nissa Shahid
Nissa Shahid

Urbanist at Future Cities Catapult and member of the Women in Planning London Committee.

 

Article, event write up, Women in Planning Official

Building a Britain Fit for the Future – The Launch of the Revised NPPF

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Women in Planning committee members were delighted to attended the revised National Planning Policy Framework  launch in London on Monday. Below they each reflect on the day and what it means for the profession.

Ellie Gingell, Chair of South Midlands Branch

Ellie

“In the South Midlands, we were keen to hear where the new Garden Towns on the Oxford-MK-Cambridge Corridor were going to be located. Unfortunately, we still have to wait for the final announcements.

However, Plan making, including strategic plans, was very much on the agenda through the speeches and into the technical sessions afterward. Even the transitional arrangements (the time in which Local Authorities have to get a plan in place) which, may at first seem strict- a mere 6 months- were defended by Steve Quartermain who was very clear that we’ve had long enough to understand government thinking and their intentions and act accordingly. This will, of course, prove challenging for but is probably a very large carrot disguised as a stick when you reflect on the proposed changes as a whole, for example the Housing Delivery Test.

Pondering the day on the train home, the speeches, the amusing memes of Thomas the Tank engine that filled the twitter feed, the strong voices for and those against, and with International Womens Day just around the corner it seemed somewhat apt to reflect on the words of suffragette Lucy Stone:

“Now all we need is to continue to speak the truth fearlessly, and we shall add to our number those who will turn the scale to the side of equal and full justice in all things”.

It is, after all, a consultation- which is our opportunity to be heard as planning professionals.”

Alison Mackay, Co-Founder

Alison Photo

“It was a very busy day for the Planning profession. Prime Minster Theresa May kick started the launched the consultation of the eagerly anticipated updated National Planning Policy Framework, setting the future for planning policy.

With a focus on housing delivery, I am looking forward to reading the consultation document in full but the take home messages from the day were:

1) Greater protection of the Green Belt and ensuring Local Planning Authorities can firmly justify its release;
2) Emphasis on high density with the power to refuse schemes of too lower density and
3) Monitoring of Local Plans to ensure they deliver their adopted strategic visions with consequences for Local Planning Authorities that fail to do so”

Charlotte Morphet, Co-Founder 

Charlotte Morphet Young Planner of the Year Photo

“I thought the presence of the Prime Minster at the launch of the National Planning Policy Framework mark 2 was positive. It really showed how far as a profession we have come in the Government eyes. It was also good to have the presence of the Secretary of State. We have moved on from being the enemies of enterprise to important profession and process in the delivery of housing.

I am reserving judgement on the content of the consultation documents until I have read them all; but I can be certain of one thing, Local Planning Authorities need more resources to deliver the Governments ambitions plans for homes and communities.”

Sara Sweeney, London Branch Committee member

Sara Sweeney

“It certainly was not an average Monday hearing about the proposed revisions to the NPPF first-hand from the Prime Minster and the Secretary of State.

What I took from the day was that the ultimate aspiration of the Government is to build a Britain that is fit for purpose and that means delivering the right homes, in the right places. As a Planner with a particular passion for strategic planning and the delivery of housing, I welcome many of the proposed revisions to help streamline the plan-making process (after all this is supposed to be a plan-led system) but I will reserve judgement until I’ve holistically read the consultation documents and considered the implications on the ground.

Albeit, the Developer in me feels massively underwhelmed and under attack. Developers will continue to “step up” to build homes, but in my opinion the anti-developer culture needs to change as the industry is not to blame for the housing crisis. I can attest that I have never been asked to promote a site for housing or submit a planning application with the intention to “sit on the land and watch the value rise”. There needs to be some realism here, the development industry does not operate within a vacuum that is not exposed to wider economic factors. Stable economic conditions create the environment in which developers can deliver more homes. No private sector entity would be expected to deliver without profit and it should be no different for the development industry.”

The consultation proposals can be found on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government website (click here). 

Events, networking, North West committee

Plan- Your Career with our North West Branch – 8 March

 

Picture1Whether you are a student at the start of your career, or are unsure how to achieve your current career goals, whatever they may be, join Women in Planning North West  for an interactive and practical session on how to develop and progress your career, sponsored by Blayze Group with leading Planning and Recruitment Executives.

Hear from and be inspired by influential women representing both the public and private sectors of the profession (Speakers to be confirmed very shortly), followed by Rob Haslam from Savills and representatives from Blayze leading a session on confidence building and how to achieve what you would you would like to achieve from your career.

Date: 8 March 2018

Time: 18:00 – 20:30

Location: Blayze Group Business Lounge, 53 King Street, Manchester, M2 4LQ

Price: Free but booking is essential.

Click here to book. 

Events

Join us to celebrate a special International Women’s Day in London 08 March 2018

IWD - London 2018

To celebrate international women’s day this year, we thought we would do something a bit different. We, here at the London Branch, wanted to celebrate the amazing work of Suffragettes, so join us as we visit the “Votes for Women” exhibition at Museum of London.

Details

Price: FREE

Date: 08 March 2018
Address: Museum of London, 150 London Wall, EC2Y 5HN
Time: 16:00 to 20:00
Start: 16:00: visit exhibition until 18:00 close.
18:00: Meet for a drink at London Wall Bar and Kitchen
Finish: 20:00
Booking: There is no need to book.

If you want to attend, meet us in the foyer of the Museum of London at 16:00. Look for the Women in Planning sign that one of the London Committee will be holding.

If you can’t make the exhibition but want to meet and talk with some amazing women join us for a drink at the London Wall Bar & Kitchen after.

Exhibition details are available at the following link:

https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/museum-london/whats-on/exhibitions/votes-women

 We look forward to seeing you there!

Article

Leadership in Planning

By Anna Rose,  Head of the Planning Advisory Service (PAS) at Local Government Association

For me, great leaders have vision, the better ones also work hard to make sure that there is a shared understanding of how to make that vision a reality.

This isn’t just true of local government but it is particularly relevant. There are great political and officer leads who can orate their enthusiasm for a firmly held vision to audiences far and wide. Of these leaders there are also some who can engage their own groups and teams. It is critical in local government that there is a shared understanding of how to realise the vision as there are a myriad of differing concerns, priorities and agendas to work with.

So good leadership is about so much more than vision, its effectiveness is reliant on communication. If a local planning authority (LPA) is the delivery arm of a leader’s vision they need to believe in and take responsibility for its delivery. Without this shared understanding the vision is just that, a vision.

This may sound a little philosophical but I worry that ‘leadership’ is a word that is used as frequently as ‘amazing’ and is similarly misused to complement other characteristics or attributes that whilst commendable are not leadership.

For LPA’s, the need for a leader or leaders who have a clear vision is evident. Many local plans are created in the absence of an overall vision for the place that is being planned. Decisions are taken without consideration of a desired outcome for anything other than that application. Is it any wonder that things don’t always go to plan?

If your destination keeps changing, you may get there but it will take a long time and you will travel further. Ring any bells?

For LPAs, it is essential that the political and officer leads articulate a desired outcome from the outset rather than changing this according to the most recent decision or consultation. This does not negate the positive influence of flexibility but it does ensure that there is a point of stability to test any new ideas against. It is the ‘spotting point’ when you are spinning. It is extremely difficult to remember the purpose of a plan or process if an iterative approach to the outcome is taken.

Leaders need to prioritise. Where this is done well it makes a HUGE difference to not only the productivity of the LPA but also the morale and wellbeing of the team. Public services adapt to the situation that they are put in but this can be handled so much better when there is leadership to guide the activity. This is as much about what to continue doing as it is about stopping. Teams that know what is expected of them will take responsibility for delivering it, the opposite is also true.

So, for me, an iterative vision leads to changing priorities and therefore inconsistency. Good leadership works on the basis of no surprises. Honesty and trust is a massive part of this. LPAs with effective leadership know how to deal with issues as they arise as they understand how their leaders wish them to operate. The absence of this understanding is usually built up from a history of inconsistent approaches and decisions at a leadership level. Inconsistency in leadership leads to inconsistency in service delivery.

Inconsistency inside an LPA reflects directly onto the community and customers of the Council. This leads to a poor reputation, built around a lack of trust and confidence. A poor reputation once gained is very hard to lose.

LPAs that know what they are working towards and how to get there are more effective and efficient. They don’t have to spend time searching for the directions. Needless to say – this improves service delivery and saves money.

Responsibility can only be delegated once trust is established. Planners with responsibility have more fulfilment from their role. Good leadership allows for that responsibility to be handed around and a bond of trust is formed. Leaders are stronger when they trust their teams to deliver and teams are stronger when they are trusted.

So yes we need great leaders but let us all commit to using the term responsibly.

Follow Anna on Twitter @EPlanna 

This blog was adapted from a presentation Anna gave at Planning Future‘s talk on leadership in planning.