Given the changes to the planning system currently being implemented, consultancies are likely to take an increasing role in the planning process over the next few years, particularly in specialist areas. While councils will take different approaches, using private consultants to complement generalist in-house planners may be an effective use of the available budget.
The RTPI Directory of Consultants is a key resource both for those looking to employ a consultant and for consultants in attracting work.
Listings are only open to RTPI members, meaning that clients can be assured that consultants are part of a professional body, adhere to a rigorously enforced professional code of conduct and carry appropriate professional indemnity insurance.
Available in print and online, the directory allows those looking for the services of a planning consultant to search geographically by town or postcode, by specialist area or even by a specific name.
Individual leaflets are also produced for each region and distributed to local authorities, citizens advice bureaus and libraries in that area.
The national printed directory and regional leaflets are distributed free of change in the UK. The online directory had 63,300 visits in the last year, 70 per cent of which were from new users. The directory is used by public and private sector organisations as well as members of the public.
It is also a useful resource for members, RTPI staff or Planning Aid volunteers who are asked for a referral to a consultant.
Planning consultants are able to help with planning and development issues, from submitting applications to policy research and public involvement. Before agreeing to take on a particular project, consultants are advised to discuss it in detail with the client, ensuring that both sides are clear on the timescales and cost.
Consultants should also consider joining the RTPI's independent consultants network, which offers planners who are sole practitioners or run a small practice targeted information and resources. It also provides a forum to discuss common issues and share practice.
To ensure that your details are at the fingertips of those looking for a planning consultant, book your listing now for 2011. Booking before the end of the year will also guarantee your inclusion in the printed directories for the year ahead.
For more information, please visit www.rtpiconsultants.co.uk. If your firm is not currently listed, please contact directory manager Simon Owen on 020 7960 5663 or email email@example.com for information on how to register.