Public Statement

Public Practice announce new Autumn 2023 Cohort

  • The next Public Practice cohort will bring new expertise to the public sector with 29 Associates joining 27 Authorities in England, including Borough Councils, District Councils and Unitary Councils.
  • The last recruitment campaign saw Public Practice continue its expansion across England, with this cohort the not-for-profit will be working with 9 new local authorities, including Somerset, Rugby Borough, Rochdale Borough and Middlesborough Councils.
  • There has been continued demand for Urban Design and Planning skills, the current cohort spans roles from Regeneration to Creating Active and Healthy spaces and Net Zero.
  • Public Practice CEO Pooja Agrawal says “I continue to be inspired by the motivated Associates joining our programme, who are driven to have more purpose in their work and shape places across England for the better…”
  • Earlier this year, Public Practice announced a £1m funding boost from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). The funding is being used to expand the Associate Programme’s reach, which is now open to local authorities in all regions of England.
  • The Associate Programme supports the public sector’s place-making capabilities by recruiting skilled candidates to year long placements within local authorities. The programme is supported by a unique learning and development course, with the opportunity to join a cohort of like-minded professionals.

Since 2017, Public Practice has placed 320 Associates into 87 Authorities in England, with 77% remaining working in the public sector 2+ years after the (12-month) programme ends. In this cohort, Public Practice has seen a high level of interest in placemaking roles with Urban Design skills. Rugby Borough Council sought a Senior Planning Officer (Urban Design), and Rochdale Borough Council secured an Urban Design Principal. Other roles include a Senior Planner / Urban Designer for North Hertfordshire Council and an Urban Design Officer for East Riding Council.

Public Practice recently published their 2023 Recruitment & Skills report which highlighted a number of challenges across resourcing and recruitment in the built environment sector, with a wide range of skills in demand. Their survey found that local authorities need to find skilled professionals in Sustainability, Urban Design and Masterplanning amongst others, however, current vacancies reported show that planning roles are most recruited for. Public Practice takes a multidisciplinary approach to recruitment, and its newest cohort addresses skills gaps across these role types.

This Autumn, almost 80% of the successful associates are coming to work in the public sector for the first time, bringing a hugely diverse range of expertise, skills and backgrounds. Associates joining the programme include Peter Inglis, an architect with over 25 years of experience - Peter was director and practice leader of Cullinan Studio, known for social and environmental sustainability; Abigail Murphy, an experienced architect with a background in residential and community projects, who has previously worked alongside local authorities in Bristol and London; Joe Morizzo, founder of Morizzo & Co., who is also a recipient of a RIBA London Award; Sahar-Fatema Mohamedali, a creative and practical architect who has worked in the field of transport infrastructure, including bridges, railways, airports and the public realm; and Azhar Kapadi, an architect with extensive experience working with the private and public sector across multiple scales and project types.

Pooja Agrawal, CEO of Public Practice said:

“This is our first national cohort and I am delighted to be welcoming 9 new English local authorities to Public Practice, and bringing multidisciplinary experts to areas of the country where they can have maximum impact. We know that local authorities are facing many recruitment challenges and their biggest issue is difficulty attracting qualified and skilled candidates.

We are committed to attracting highly-skilled placemaking professionals into the public sector and I continue to be inspired by the motivated Associates joining our programme, who are driven to have more purpose in their work and shape places across England for the better. Each Associate is taking a big leap in their career by joining a local authority. Our aim is to support these individuals to develop their placemaking skills for long-term careers in the public sector.”

Pete Gladwell, Group Social Impact & Investment Director, Legal & General said:

“There is an urgent need for additional resource in planning departments across the UK, so it’s great to see the fruit of our partnership with Public Practice resulting in another terrific collection of people stepping into that role. And not just any collection of people; Public Practice has done a great job of pulling together diverse talents, backgrounds, and experiences to augment those who already work so tirelessly in this space.”

The next Public Practice recruitment round will open on Monday 16 October.

Are you looking to use your placemaking skills for public good? You can find more information about the Associate Programme on the Public Practice website.

If you work in a public sector organisation and would like to know more, read about our recruitment process.

Applications will close on 30 November 2023, visit Public Practice for more information and resources.