Public Practice is a not-for-profit company founded in September 2017 by the Greater London Authority and seed funded by six founding Partners from across the public, third and private sectors.
WHAT WE DO
Our purpose is not just to increase the buit environment expertise within local government, it's to transform the status of public service, and support those working within it to lead the way. To do this we have created a unique professional placement programme specifically designed for built environment professionals and their public authority hosts. We offer professionals currently in the private sector an attractive route into working for the public sector whilst also celebrating and capturing leading industry knowledge and sharing it across the wider sector.
WHY WE DO IT
We believe good public planning is fundamental for creating a built environment that is spatially, socially and economically inclusive and sustainable. Being a public planner - by which we mean any built environment expert working in the public sector - can be an extraordinarily rewarding and worthwhile job. No role is more influential in shaping the world around us for the public good. But there is not enough recognition of the value of public planning or its potential to do more to tackle the grand challenges facing society.
HOW WE DO IT
We are a not-for-profit organisation. Local Authorities pay the salaries of Associates and pay Public Practice a placement fee of £5,000 - £7,000 per placement. In addition, we receive donations from Partners which help cover the core costs of running the organisation. This allows us to keep our fees charged to the public sector affordable and means we don't have to ask Associates to pay to take part, helping to ensure we can attract the most diverse candidates we can. In 2019/20 we anticipate that 55% of our income will be from placement fees, and 45% from Partners.
Public Practice currently has five Company Directors and two Board Observers. The Board delegate the day-to-day running of the organisation to a team of staff. In addition, as recognition of the work by two GLA employees integral to the set-up of Public Practice, they have been given the title 'co-founder'.
Co-founder & Board Observer
Danna Walker is the founder and director of Built By Us - a social enterprise and an elected board member of the Architects Registration Board. Her career spans over 25 years in the construction and built environment sector and has encompassed a variety of roles from an electrician to Architect and strategic projects lead at the Construction Industry Council. She is a diversity and mentoring champion who chaired the RIBA’s Architects for Change Advisory Group for 6 years and founded the innovative FLUID Diversity Mentoring Programme, designed to provide support for practitioners seeking career progression. A finalist in the Precious Awards 2015, which celebrates the achievements of women of colour, Danna champions a more inclusive built environment and construction industry.
Debbie has over 21 years of experience working in the public sector, formerly at Westminster and Lambeth local authorities, the London Development Agency and now the Greater London Authority (GLA). She is currently the Interim Executive Director for Development, Enterprise and Environment at the Greater London Authority. The Department plays a leading role in delivering the Mayor’s Good Growth agenda through the planning, regeneration and economic development, transport, environment, skills, growth and infrastructure and European funding functions. Debbie is also the Senior Responsible Owner for the London Economic Action Partnership, London’s Local Enterprise Partnership which works with the Mayor to support businesses and an economy that works for all Londoners.
As Deputy Mayor of London for Planning, Regeneration & Skills Jules is working on key priorities for the city, including: revision of the London Plan, major regeneration projects across the capital, ensuring London’s infrastructure needs are delivered to benefit all Londoners, and building a skills system that properly addresses the needs of young people and the economy. Jules has an unrivalled knowledge of London government, becoming the first directly elected mayor of Hackney in 2002 and serving as Chair of London Councils from 2010 until he joined the Mayor’s team in 2016.
Lucy Musgrave is the founding director of Publica, a London-based practice that specialises in strategies and design for public space, urban design and masterplanning. Over a 25-year career, Lucy has played a key advisory role in policy recommendations, strategic planning and the advocacy of design quality. She is currently a Mayor’s Design Advocate and sits on the Mayor’s Night Time Commission and the Sounding Board for the Mayor’s Public London Charter. Lucy is a member of the Barbican Centre Board and the National Infrastructure Commission's Shadow Design Group and Expert Advisory Group. Lucy is regularly invited to sit on the jury for International Design Competitions, including for the new Centre for Music, the Museum of London West Smithfield and the Illuminated River. Lucy is a co-author Design and Landscape for People: New Approaches to Renewal. She was previously Director of the Architecture Foundation.
Pooja Agrawal is an architect working in the GLA Regeneration Team and managing the Mayor’s Good Growth by Design Programme. Prior to joining the GLA, Pooja has worked for architecture practices Publica and We Made That. She is a trustee of the Museum of Architecture, member of a DSE Review Panel, a mentor at FLUID, a fellow at the Institute of Innovation & Public Purpose at UCL, and a visiting lecturer at Central Saint Martins. Pooja was co-director of RIBA Guerrilla Tactics 2018 and nominated for the Planner’s Woman of Influence in 2019.
Co-founder & Board Observer
Sarah Cary is the Executive Director for Regeneration and Environment at Enfield Council. Sarah leads services that are central to Enfield residents’ quality of life, such as waste collection, recycling, street cleaning, building control and planning. She is also responsible for Enfield’s longer-term development plans, including ambitious plans for Meridian Water, which aims to bring 10,000 new homes and thousands of jobs to the borough. Sarah has a PhD in town planning and was previously at British Land, where she worked in the development team on major projects such as Regents Place, The Leadenhall Building and Canada Water before becoming Head of Sustainable Places with responsibility for environmental and social matters across the company.
Vincent Lacovara is an architect, urban designer and planner. He joined Enfield Council as Head of Planning in 2018 where he is responsible for planning policy, urban design and heritage, CIL and S106, development management, planning enforcement and building control. Prior to Enfield Council, Vincent worked in the planning department at Croydon Council for 15 years and as Placemaking Team Leader led on masterplans, public realm projects, the design and heritage aspects of planning and Croydon Place Review Panel. Vincent co-founded AOC architects where he was a director from 2003 until 2014. He is one of the Mayor of London’s Design Advocates and member of several design review panels. He has taught widely and was Louis I. Khan Visiting Professor at Yale School of Architecture. He was a winner of the 2017 Alan Cherry Award for Placemaking.
Co-founder & CEO
Director of Operations
Alongside working at Public Practice, Alisha is the Marketing Director of the advocacy organisation Black Females in Architecture (BFA). She is also a founding member of a young design collective that recently hosted a conference on Gender Equity in Cities at the London Festival of Architecture in 2018. She has previously worked at HTA Design as a landscape architectural assistant, participated in the BuildUp programme and taken part in numerous workshops in South Africa and TU Delft.
Finn has over 9 years of experience working in the public sector at Croydon Council and then the Greater London Authority (GLA). As the Regeneration Area Manager for North West and Central London he led new initiatives on placemaking, workspace, street markets, infill housing and crowdfunding. Finn is a CABE Built Environment Enabler, member of the Planning Advisory Service Board, sits on the Raynsford Review Task Force, Labour Planning Commission, and RIBA Planning Group. Finn is a Visiting Professor at the Institute of Innovation & Public Purpose at UCL, has tutored at the Royal College of Arts, and was co-curator of the British Pavilion at the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale.
Co-founder & CEO
Frederik has previously worked as a Placemaking Strategist for placemaking company, Produce UK, and as Head of Marketing for Sanitov Studio, a design start-up. Frederik holds a PhD in Architecture and an MSc in Advanced Architectural Studies, both from the Bartlett School of Architecture (UCL).
Nikki is an architecturally trained operations and management consultant specialising in social impact startups. She has co-founded and help set-up a number of built environment charities, managing projects and ethnographic research across Europe, Asia and Africa. Following this, she moved into consultancy, overseeing a major university restructure and most recently, helping raise £750,000 in angel investment for a workplace wellbeing tech start-up. Nikki has also held senior lecturer positions in Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Nottingham and Brighton and is currently writing up an EPSRC funded doctorate on the ethics and economics of the Architecture profession and its 'humanitarian capitalism'.
Director of Operations
Prior to joining Public Practice, Helen worked with local planning authorities across Surrey and South London to build in-house capacity and design skills as a Design Advisor at Design South East. She trained in architecture, most recently working at Allies & Morrison on projects including housing and public realm. She has over seven years of experience as a studio tutor and lecturer in architecture, architectural history and landscape architecture at Kingston University. Helen holds a PhD, funded by the AHRC, that explored the relationship between policy, architecture and the public life of the city, as well as degrees in Architecture and in Anthropology.
There are currently no job vacancies. However, we’re always keen to hear from people who are interested in working with us. Please email us with a copy of your CV and why you want to work at Public Practice.
ATTRACTING A NEW PIPELINE OF APPLICANTS
The first two Public Practice cohorts attracted over 430 applications from talented and experienced built environment practitioners across a wide range of disciplines. Two-thirds of our applicants have not applied to the public sector before.
IMPROVING THE DIVERSITY OF THE SECTOR
Our recruitment process is designed to be open, equal and remove bias at every stage. As a result, our Associates are diverse in terms of age, gender, and ethnicity. So far, over 60% of our Associates are women and over 20% are from BAME backgrounds.
RETAINING TALENT IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR
16 of the 17 Associates in the first cohort have chosen to continue working within the public sector beyond the end of their year-long placements, helping to embed lasting capacity within Authorities.
CREATING ADDITIONALITY THROUGH PLACEMENTS
90 per cent of placements in our second cohort are brand new roles, enabling their Authorities to carry out work that would not have been done otherwise. Public Practice supports Authorities with designing job descriptions and benchmarking salaries.