CONCLUSION AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN – Good Example, with Comment
In reflecting on my professional development, I consider that my skills and competencies have
developed significantly and that my level of responsibility has developed to reflect this. Leading the
production of the Neighbourhood Plan is a challenging task that has drawn on my skills across a very
broad range of areas. It has also however been a very rewarding area of work and one that I feel has
significantly developed my core spatial planning skills and will provide a robust basis to further my
professional development. I also believe that my experience at RDA and (name removed) City Council
has enabled me to start to develop the wider generic skill set required of built environment
professionals, particularly in terms of multidisciplinary working, negotiation and mediation, and
leadership. This will provide a strong basis from which to develop my future career within the sector
and effectively respond to change.
STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES ? Well developed analytical and research skills ? Limited knowledge of development control
and ‘the mechanics of planning’ – inquiries, ? Strong report writing/policy skills
compulsory purchase powers etc. ? Breadth of experience in spatial planning
? No direct line-management experience and regeneration through roles at
Development Agency & Council ? Need to develop skills in terms of managing
conflict/difficult situations ? Strong interpersonal skills
? Wide range of professional contacts and
networks through involvement in Regional
Activities Committee and Young Planners
OPPORTUNITIES THREATS ? Urban renaissance and current public policy ? Impact of Comprehensive Spending Review
commitment to building skills amongst built on regeneration spending and growth within
environment professionals – e.g. Academy the sector
for Sustainable Communities, Regional ? Impact of review of land use
Centres of Excellence, CABE planning/potential change of political ? Emergence of City Regions and direction under new Labour leadership
development of associated organisations ? Competition from recent increase in number
and bodies of high calibre graduates completing ? Widening range of public sector special accelerated RTPI-accredited Masters
delivery bodies and regeneration agencies degrees.
e.g. URCs, UDCs, RDAs
? ‘Missing generation’ of planners could
provide opportunities for more rapid career
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Period: September 2006 - September 2008
Date of next review: March 2007
WHERE AM I NOW?
Current job title and employer details
Since 3 April 2006 I have been employed as Planning Officer (Planning Regeneration) at (name
removed) City Council.
Royal Town Planning Institute, 41 Botolph Lane, London EC3R 8DL 1 Registered Charity in England (262865) and Scotland (SC037841)
Current job / role
My key area of work is the project management of the production of a Neighbourhood Plan as a
non-statutory area planning document. The core tasks which the production of the Neighbourhood
Plan involves are:
? Preparation and agreement of the scope and approach to the production of the
? Preparation of a Baseline and Issues report;
? Commissioning and management of consultants to facilitate stakeholder and community
? Co-ordination of both Officer Group and Advisory Group meetings; Principal point of contact
for community and stakeholder enquiries; Preparation of the Neighbourhood Plan document
and associated Sustainability Assessment and Consultation Statement; ? Liaison with Elected Members; and
? Preparation of formal reports to Planning Lead Member, Cabinet, and Council.
Outside the project management of the production of the Neighbourhood Plan, my role also involves:
? preparing development briefs for key sites, and associated community and stakeholder
? providing policy advice in relevant pre-application discussions with developers relating to
significant development sites;
? working with partners to secure the implementation of plans and urban regeneration schemes; ? preparing reports to Lead Member, Cabinet and Council to seek political endorsement where
? providing planning advice to colleagues and stakeholders across a range of disciplines
including housing, property, neighbourhood management, education services, and landscape
? Policy / report writing skills - these were significantly developed through my work at RDA and
will provide a strong basis to inform my production of policy documents and development
briefs. See log book entry, p.x
? Analytical and research skills - these were also significantly developed through my work at
RDA and have been critical in supporting my preparation of a Baseline and Issues report for
the Neighbourhood Plan area. See log book entry, p.y
? Project management and collaborative working - my project management of the Historic
Towns and Cities study at RDA developed my project management skills in terms of
managing the consultants and financial management. My skills in collaborative and
multidisciplinary working were developed through liaising with the steering group and
engaging key partners and stakeholders. See log book entry, p.z
Current areas for development-
? Engaging and working with the local community - due to the nature of my role at RDA this is
not an area in which I had experience prior to working at (current employer). It will be
important that I continue to develop skills in this area in order to effectively carry out the duties
of my role. Taking forward the Neighbourhood Plan process will be a key means of developing
my skills in this area. See log book pages a, b and c.
? Knowledge of the development control / implementation side of planning - this relates to
developing my detailed knowledge across a range of key areas which could be termed the
'mechanics of planning'. These include planning applications, appeals and inquiries, call-ins,
development control and enforcement, and compulsory purchase powers. These are not
areas in which I previously had experience given the nature of my role at RDA. They will
however be important areas for development given the more local l implementation based
nature of my role at (location removed).
Royal Town Planning Institute, 41 Botolph Lane, London EC3R 8DL 2 Registered Charity in England (262865) and Scotland (SC037841)
? Developing skills in understanding and mediating political situations -developing skills in
political awareness and mediation will be important given the political nature of planning, and
partnership working more generally. In terms of my role at (location removed), the areas which
I will seek to strengthen include managing relationships with key partners and stakeholders,
colleagues from other sections within the Council, and Elected Members.
WHERE AM I GOING?
Long term goals
My long term goal is to develop my career in the public sector. There are a wide range of reasons
which underpin this commitment. These include the range of opportunities available, the breadth of
work and the ability to make a difference and see tangible results from your work, together with the
supportive organisational culture and commitment to staff development and maintaining a positive
My goal would be to work within planning/regeneration within a special delivery body as I believe this
would offer the greatest potential for creativity and innovation. Within the existing organisational
landscape, this could for example be within an Urban Regeneration Company. There are however
likely to be other similar bodies emerging in the future as the organisational landscape changes.
I believe that my experience to date within the RDA working on a strategic / policy based level,
together with the more local level, implementation-focused experience I will get in my present role at
(location removed) will put me in a good position to realise my goal by giving me a broad range of
experience in planning and regeneration.
Short term goals
? I will develop my skills in terms of working with the local community and securing effective
engagement in the plan-making process.
? I will develop my knowledge of the 'mechanics of planning', including planning applications,
appeals and inquiries, call-ins, development control and enforcement, and compulsory
? I will develop my skills of political awareness through managing relationships with key partners,
stakeholders, colleagues from other sections within the Council and Elected Members.
(continued on next page to allow for space for comments, right)
Royal Town Planning Institute, 41 Botolph Lane, London EC3R 8DL 3 Registered Charity in England (262865) and Scotland (SC037841)
HOW WILL I GET THERE?
Objective 1: Develop skills of community working and engagement.
How will I get there?
? Liaise with the Consultation and Commissioning group and other colleagues to develop a best
practice approach to community engagement as part of the production of the Neighbourhood
Plan. First meeting December 06.
? Learn best practice techniques of facilitation from specialist consultants commissioned to
facilitate the Neighbourhood Plan workshops. Initial meeting set up for March 07.
? Continue to assist in the facilitation of relevant community engagement workshops and events
at the Council. Workshops approaching in November and December 06.
? Continue to attend community facilitation workshops through my volunteer role with regional
Planning Aid (see examples in log book, pages d, e and f). Workshop event July 07.
? Attend relevant training events on community engagement techniques organised by the RTPI,
Planning Aid, or the (location removed) Planners Training Group. Specifically, event on
Engaging with Young People in February 07.
Objective 2: Develop detailed knowledge of the 'mechanics of planning'.
How will I get there?
? Involvement with development control colleagues at (development & regeneration services
consultancy) in pre-application discussions with developers for scheme proposals for key sites.
Meeting scheduled for October 06.
? Developing my working knowledge of the key development control principles, through
familiarisation with the GDPO and planning legislation, and familiarisation with the Council's
relevant draft and adopted Supplementary Planning Documents, including the Planning
Obligations SPD, Housing SPD, Greenspace SPD, Design and Crime SPD, and the Nature
Conservation & Biodiversity SPD. Have read and understood all documents by January 08.
? Relevant web-based research via Localaw and the DCLG and HMSO websites to develop my
knowledge of relevant documents relating to the statutory procedures and legislative context.
? Involvement with colleagues from the Plans Group in relation to assisting in the preparation of
case for appeals and call-ins. One-to-one arranged with (colleague) for November 06.
? Attendance at relevant planning inquiries to observe and learn from proceedings. Inquiry
examining (details removed) due for January 07.
? Keep updated of amendments to the statutory procedures through reading relevant articles in
Planning, the Planning Matters website, and attending Planning Law update events. Ongoing
– review amendments/learning outcomes in April 07.
Royal Town Planning Institute, 41 Botolph Lane, London EC3R 8DL 4 Registered Charity in England (262865) and Scotland (SC037841)
Objective 3: Develop skills in terms of political awareness and relationship management.
How will I get there?
? Co-ordination of the Neighbourhood Plan Officer Group and Advisory Group, which will
develop my skills in relationship building with officers from across the Council's Directorates, in
addition to Elected Members and community representatives. Meeting scheduled December
? Actively engage key external stakeholders in the production of the Neighbourhood Plan,
including the (location removed) URC, the PCT and NHS Trust, (local area) Police, and key
Registered Social Landlords.
? Continue to build my network of professional contacts through my role on the RTPI Regional
Activities Committee and my involvement in the (regional) Young Planners Group and
Overall this is a clear and comprehensive Professional Development Plan. The candidate has
thought deeply about where he sees his career progressing, so while his short term goals are
focused on improvements relating to his current role, this is part of a wider vision for the future. There is clear ownership of the PDP – on reading it you understand the candidate’s strengths and
weaknesses through the same themes being picked up and addressed in the SWOT, the
strengths/weaknesses of the PDP, and future objectives. So while the short term goals might not directly and explicitly work towards the long term goals, it is easy to see how these goals/objectives
have been arrived at. Although the rest of the APC submission is not shown here, the PDP is also
clearly identifiable as belonging to this candidate, and it is therefore clear that it is a very personal
account. References are made to sections of the log book, which help with this. The actions that are identified are a little vague – the comments show how this has/could be improved by identifying more structured/specific activities, and by introducing target time frames. The candidate does not rely solely on general activities in the workplace, but identifies some firm CPD activities that will very
likely have to take place outside of the day-to-day employment e.g. structured reading/research with
particular topics/documents in mind. Candidates should avoid relying solely on activities that will take
place during day-to-day work to meet objectives – undertaking an activity at work doesn’t necessarily
mean you will learn from it, and opportunities to take on certain work activities are often outside of
Royal Town Planning Institute, 41 Botolph Lane, London EC3R 8DL 5 Registered Charity in England (262865) and Scotland (SC037841)