Head of Planning and Placemaking Strategy

Permanent, Full-time
£64,108 – £75,646
Senior Level
Application Close
5 Aug 2024

Job Location

  • 3 days in the office per week
  • at the offices in York
  • within the Planning, Development & Strategy Divison

Job Details

There has never been a more exciting time to be working in active travel and Active Travel England (ATE) is at the forefront of this high-profile agenda.

We are looking for an outstanding leader for our Planning & Placemaking Strategy Team, setting its priorities and core deliverables and ensuring that ATE continues to cement its reputation as a serious and credible part of the planning system. We aim to work with public and private sector to enable appropriate development and want you to have an approach that embodies that.

You will be forging a new path in terms of ATE’s planning role and so will need a thorough understanding of the planning system, with relevant experience of working in the planning and/or placemaking divisions of a local authority, government department, executive agency or consultancy. Strong strategic thinking, leadership and stakeholder engagement skills are also essential as you will need to make links with planning professionals and those with an interest in planning at all levels of leadership.

Your work will ensure that ATE’s planning division has the right strategic vision and focus, to deliver the step-change in active travel provision set out by ATE and the Government. Adaptability, flexibility and an ability to plan for the long term, as well as deliver the day-to-day functions are also essential. This is an exciting challenge for someone with a passion for active travel’s role in promoting development, and a track record of influencing change.

Your duties will include but not be limited to:

  • Leading ATE’s cross-cutting planning strategy development, identifying opportunities for ATE to influence how new developments are delivered.
  • Overseeing the design and implementation of ATE’s planning guidance documents, and its input into the guidance documents of other organisations to ensure consistency in messaging.
  • Ownership of ATE’s relationships with stakeholders in the Planning & Development Sector, including other government departments, statutory consultees and the private sector.
  • Overseeing the development of a training offer to help ensure local authorities and combined authorities can access up-to-date information and training opportunities. 

Role Reporting

  • you will have a team of up to eight direct reports
  • you will be reporting directly to the Director of Planning, Development & Strategy in the Planning, Development & Strategy Division

About You

We are looking for a highly motivated person with a strong background in planning (or other relevant placemaking disciplines for exceptional candidates) who can find ways to approach complex problems with many competing factors. It is essential that you can exercise sound judgement as to the proper application of planning policy and construct clear, compelling arguments on the balance of the evidence available.

You will need to be a strategic thinker, linking issues and work strands together to maximise opportunities to add value. You must be confident and skilled in providing challenge where necessary to ensure the best outcomes are delivered. The ability to test the way things have been done, take managed risks and drive a culture of inclusion, innovation and continuous improvement are essential criteria for leaders in our agency.

As a leader you should be able to demonstrate your ability to inspire and motivate a team, uniting them around a common goal or issue and to deliver organisational priorities. This should be accompanied with an ability to collaborate with peers and stakeholders both internal and external to Active Travel England, including in circumstances when it is necessary to influence others and seek their buy in to the new organisation’s planning policy agenda.

Expert knowledge and considerable experience of the planning system as well as professional planning qualifications and accreditation (or eligibility for accreditation) are essential, though for exceptional candidates, other appropriate placemaking disciplines would be considered.

Eligible Built Environment Backgrounds

  • Architecture

  • Landscape Architecture

  • Town & City Planning

  • Transport Planning

Job Package

  • £64,108 - £75,646 per annum salary (Grade 6)
  • Civil Service Pension scheme
  • 25 days annual leave on entry, increasing on a sliding scale to 30 days after 5 years of service. This is in addition to 8 public holidays. This will be complemented by one further day paid privilege entitlement to mark the King’s birthday.

Additional Information

While we accept applicants on a part time basis, you will be required to work a minimum of 30 hours per week.

We operate a hybrid working model that allows you to work between home and on-site giving you greater flexibility about where and when you work, subject to business needs. This also allows for ongoing support, development and collaboration with colleagues. 

A minimum 60% of your working time should be spent at your principal workplace, although requirements to attend other locations for official business, or carry out detached duty in another DfT workplace, will also count towards this level of attendance. 

Occasional travel to other DfT offices may be required. We would encourage you to discuss the working arrangements for this role with us during the recruitment process. 

Application Process

How to Apply

When considering applying please look at how your experience relates to the role. Please tailor your CV to match the role and its responsibilities and within your Personal Statement please provide detailed evidence of your experience of the following: 

  • Experience in a relevant planning policy role, whether at a local authority, other statutory consultee or in the private sector.
  • Experience developing planning policy and seeing it through to implementation/delivery.
  • Experience of working across transport planning and spatial planning disciplines, within the context of developing and implementing sustainable transport policy.

Application Process

Our 2-stage selection process ensures a comprehensive assessment of each applicant's qualifications, skills, and potential fit within our organisation.  

  • Stage 1: Behaviour-based interview. In this stage, we will assess behaviours via a question-based interview. 
  • Stage 2: Presentation: The final stage involves an in-person presentation, where selected candidates will be invited to visit our York office to take part.

The sift is due to take place from 12th August 2024.

Interviews/assessments are likely to be held week commencing 2nd September 2024.

Marking Criteria

The Department for Transport alongside other Government Departments recruit using Success Profiles. This means for each role we consider what you will need to demonstrate in order to be successful. This gives us the best possible chance of finding the right person for the job, drives up performance and improves diversity and inclusivity. 

We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Leadership
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Delivering at Pace

For further information on Success Profiles visit our Careers website

Access Adjustments Available

Complete the “Assistance required” section in the “Additional requirements” page of your application form to tell us what changes or help you might need during the recruitment process. For instance, you may need wheelchair access at an interview, or if you’re deaf, a Language Service Professional.

If you need a reasonable adjustment so that you can complete your application, you should contact Government Recruitment Service via as soon as possible before the closing date to discuss your needs.


Deadline for application is 11:55pm, Monday, 5 August 2024.

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