Council staff loss probed

The RTPI has launched a probe into whether local authorities without chief planners are seeing a talent drain to the private sector.

The question is part of a survey to investigate why an increasing number of planners are choosing to work in the private sector rather than for councils.

It will assess whether public sector professionalism is at risk from recruitment and retention problems. Council staff now comprise 43 per cent of RTPI members, down from 54 per cent in 2000.

Planning revealed earlier this year that council planners face pay cuts as part of a national salary review (Planning, 7 March, p1). RTPI Planners in the Workplace manager Chris Sheridan said some members' pay has been cut by as much as ten per cent in recent months.

"We have anecdotal evidence from planners that they have been led to give certain answers in pay review interviews. Many feel that their employers do not fully understand their role in a local authority," he said.

RTPI policy director Rynd Smith added that some council planners feel that they have become "rubber-stamp bureaucrats" because of the sector's target culture. The results of the survey will be published next month.

The survey is available at PlanningResource.co.uk/doc.


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