RTPI NEWS: Qualifying for RTPI technical membership

Some support staff are not aware of the variety of ways in which they can quality for this class, says Arlene Britto.

As members know, there is a technical membership class for planning support staff. There are two routes to qualification.

Route 1

Applicants must be (or have been) employed in a planning support role; have an N/SVQ level 3 in town planning support, an HNC/HND certificate in planning or an equivalent qualification approved by the RTPI and have two years' relevant experience - including one year after qualifying - or four years' relevant experience when applying.

- The N/SVQ normally takes a minimum of two years to complete, but applicants can progress at their own pace. The qualification has five possible routes - technical, administration, enforcement, development control and general.

These have been designed to meet the needs of different types of support staff. It requires the successful completion of eight units but all applicants must complete five mandatory units that:


- Contribute to providing advice and information for the planning


- Contribute to maintaining compliance with statutory and policy


- Maintain and run information systems.

- Develop, implement and maintain procedures.

- Manage yourself.


Applicants can then select their other three units from one of 13 optional/additional units. The qualification is based on the applicant's performance at work.

It is, therefore, not a traditional college-based course. However, potential candidates might find some of the HNC/HND certificate or foundation courses listed below helpful in providing the underpinning knowledge.

More detailed information about the N/SVQ qualification can be obtained from the Awarding Body for the Built Environment (ABBE) on (tel) 0121 331 5174 (e-mail) james.westley@uce.ac.uk.

- There are also HNC, HND or certificate courses in planning available.

Students can take between two to four years (part or full-time) to complete these courses, offered by the following colleges:


- University of the West of England: certificate in professional

development in town planning (tel) 0117 344 3218.

- Manchester College of Arts and Technology: HNC in planning (tel) 0161

953 5995.

- Sheffield Hallam University: certificate in planning studies (tel)

0114 225 2837.

- Glasgow College of Building and Printing: HNC in town planning and HND

in planning and general practice surveying (tel) 0141 332 9969.


The provision of these courses varies over time depending on the level of demand. However, further details can be obtained from the individual colleges (listed) or, for the HNC/HND courses, from Edexcel (tel) 0870 240 9800 or (e-mail) enquiries@edexcel.org.uk.

- A distance learning planning foundation course offered by Manchester College of Arts and Technology is also accepted for route 1 and is also separately accredited by the Open College Network. It operates on a "roll-on, roll-off" basis and is assessed by written assignments. For further details, contact John Westbrook (tel) 0161 953 5995.

- There is also a linked programme comprising the certificate of planning enforcement offered by Trevor Roberts Associates - (tel) 01204 385678 - plus module two of the above foundation course. The certificate course consists of six modules (four are needed to qualify):


- Key principles of planning enforcement.

- Planning enforcement procedures and practice.

- Legal aspects of planning enforcement.

- Planning enforcement in relation to material changes of use.

- Planning enforcement and operational development.

- Planning enforcement in relation to advertisement control.


Route 2

The availability of this route has been extended until the end of 2008.

Applicants must be (or have been) employed in a planning support role and have a minimum of ten years' relevant experience and complete a project.

For more information, please contact Arlene Britto (tel) 020 7929 9481 or (e-mail) arlene.britto@rtpi.org.uk.

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