Public Statement

Skills boost for planning authorities to create better neighbourhoods

More skilled planning professionals will be recruited by councils following a £1 million funding boost from the government, the Housing Minister announced today.

Social enterprise Public Practice will use the money to help councils recruit and develop skilled planners, increase awareness about careers in local government and share best practice around improving communities in the public sector.

The money will help councils attract and develop those in the profession leading to higher skilled jobs, speed up property development and create better neighbourhoods that people are proud to call home.

Minister for Housing and Planning Rachel Maclean said:

“Planning plays such an important role in shaping our neighbourhoods, making sure we have the right housing and infrastructure to level up the nation.

“It is essential that our planning authorities have the skills and resources they need and today’s funding will make sure the sector is better equipped to deliver a quality service for local communities.”

Pooja Agrawal, CEO of Public Practice, said:

“Planning and placemaking is one of local government’s most important functions as it shapes the places we all live in, work and visit.

“However, it is clear that local authorities have substantial skills gaps which hinders the ability of developers and councils to deliver good quality new and refurbished homes, sustainable public spaces or accessible town centres and high streets.

“We are grateful to the Department of Levelling Up for this funding. We have a proud track record of bringing private sector planning and placemaking talent into local authorities and helping them to forge long-term careers in the public sector.

“Now is not the time to rest on our laurels but to re-double our efforts. We have a mission to help every council in England to find the skilled planners and place professionals they need to make communities and neighbourhoods better across our nation.”

The government recently published a consultation on increases to planning fees to generate additional income for councils to help deliver and improve planning services, making sure communities have the right infrastructure.

This is alongside a wider programme of support and investment in high quality data and digital technology to reduce the administrative burdens on local planning authorities and support faster more efficient decision-making.

Public Practice has attracted more than 2,500 applications to its placement programme over the past five years, 92% of whom have been working outside the public sector. Some 73% of applicants have never worked in the public sector and 53% have never previously applied for a job in the public sector.

Nine-tenths of Public Practice Associates have chosen to continue working in the public sector following the conclusion of the year-long programme. The not-for-profit social enterprise has a mission to rebuild skills and capacity in the public sector to help improve places and communities across England.



Download the media pack here.


Public Practice was founded as a social enterprise in September 2017, and is committed to making everyday spaces work for everyone. Public Practice builds the public sector’s capability to shape places, by offering professionals from the private sector an attractive route into local authorities which includes a unique package of real-time training and development.

Over the past five years Public Practice has attracted more than 2,500 professionals to apply to its placement programme, approximately 92% of whom have been working outside the public sector. Some 73% of applicants have never worked in the public sector and 53% have never previously applied for a job in the public sector.

To date, Public Practice has placed 264 place professionals in 73 public sector authorities across London, the South East, East of England, North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humber, with 96% completion of the Public Practice programme.

Diversity and representation within cohorts of Public Practice Associates has consistently outperformed the built environment industry but Public Practice is striving to do more, read here.

Public Practice Associates have provided specialist skills that have enabled the establishment of new capabilities and interdisciplinary approaches within place-shaping teams. These include architectural and urban design experts within Warrington Borough Council; sustainability and landscape experts at Epping Forest District Council; and community engagement and digital skills in Greater Cambridge Shared Planning.


Public Practice has support from the private, third and public sectors. Public Practice’s grant funders include DLUHC, Homes England and the Greater London Authority. Partners include Berkeley Group, Legal and General, L&Q and RTPI; and Supporters include Dentons, Inner Circle Consulting and Karakusevic Carson Architects. More information here.


“I wouldn’t have applied for a public sector job without Public Practice.

They make local government jobs accessible and the learning and development programme they provide alongside the placements looks excellent and is something I’ve never seen before.”

Abigail Patel, Lake District National Park Authority
Public Practice Associate, Autumn 2022

“We're delighted that Mark has joined us through Public Practice at Warrington Borough Council. We've looked for a number of years to try and bring in urban design expertise into the team but found it to be a challenging market to bring in urban design professionals. Public Practice made that easy for us.

We've already seen the benefits of Mark providing advice on planning applications, getting involved with council projects, and working on planning policy documents.”

Rob Allison, Warrington Borough Council
Line Manager of a Public Practice Associate, Autumn 2022


Please contact Chris Walker on 07421 319937 or email: [email protected]