Election of junior vice-president: addresses from the candidates

Janet O'Neill, Dory Reeves and Peter Wilbraham write in support of their candidature for election to junior vice-president 2006.

Janet O'Neill writes:

I am a mainstream planner with more than ten years' of experience in local government and two years' in private practice. I also have ten years' direct contact with planning schools as an external examiner and even more than that as a working mum. So, why should you vote for me?

I offer great enthusiasm for planning in all its breadth by:

- Encouraging planners to be bold in using the updated planning system.

- Promoting the profession to the next generation of planners.

- Lobbying for a fair share of resources for planners burdened with targets and overwhelming workloads.

- Contributing towards the institute's agenda of being more accessible and responsive to members' needs.

- Participating in steering changes to policy, particularly in meeting housing shortages, improving transport options and ensuring higher quality design.

- Promoting collaborative planning across all interest groups.

I have wide experience in planning practice. After 11 years in local government I moved into private practice as a sole practitioner, initially working part time. In the past eight years I have built up the practice and formed a limited company. We have a wide range of clients including the University of York, for whom we are lead consultancy in planning a 100ha campus. I meet a variety of planners as part of my work, as well as others working in allied disciplines. This widens my perspective on planning.

I have shown my commitment to planning through being a member of the Planning Summer School council for nine years and as a member of the RTPI council and general assembly for nine years.

Dory Reeves writes:

Having played a key role in shaping the new institute and the planning education reforms, as well as taking a keen interest in equality and diversity issues, I believe that I have the experience, energy and commitment to take the profession into its next phase of development.

With achievements in local government, education and the private sector in the UK and Ireland, I understand the pressures and the challenges facing planners and the need for richer and more constructive partnerships between professions and sectors.

The RTPI and its partners need to encourage the current interest and growth in planning to ensure that the profession attracts quality people from a wide range of backgrounds who feel committed to the profession.

We need to work more skillfully to make planning better understood and valued by politicians and communities with a more positive, higher media profile.

We need to make sure that training and learning opportunities exist for professionals at all levels and must be accessible, affordable, exciting, stimulating and creative. Professionals need more opportunities to see how colleagues in other parts of the UK and beyond are tackling issues.

The corporate plan has three critical priorities: shaping policy, maintaining standards and increasing the knowledge base of planning, and involving people in planning. The RTPI needs to shape policy in all parts of the UK. More practitioners need to be involved in developing useful research and getting the public involved calls for tapping into the expertise of local people to plan places for everyone.

Planning is at a challenging moment. The structures are in place, now it is time to implement them. I am committed to working with you to achieve this exciting agenda.

Peter Wilbraham writes:

The RTPI is going through a period of radical change no less profound than the changes the government has made. With the implementation of the New Vision I believe that the institute must continue to work to establish itself in the public perception as the authoritative voice of planning.

We can succeed in that if we can harness the expertise and views of all of our members.

I have a wealth of experience that I would bring to the presidency, including 35 years active involvement in planning, working extensively for both the public and private sectors. Drawing on this work I see myself as ideally placed to communicate and promote the relevance, values and interests of the institute and particularly of its members.

As honorary secretary and solicitor and member of the management and executive boards since the early 1990s, I have been closely involved with many facets of the institute's life, ranging from the strategic New Vision to individual members' problems. Indeed it is through that experience that I am strongly committed to the extension of support for members encompassed by planners in the workplace.

I am particularly interested in continuing professional development (CPD), which I have promoted for more than 20 years by organising planning law seminars. As a former member of the Planning Summer School council and in my current role as a director of RTPI services, I have a keen interest in the CPD provided by the institute's partners.

Using my extensive legal and planning experience I believe that I can help steer the institute through this period of change and help to promote an organisation of which members are proud to be a part.

- Voting papers will be going out to all corporate members next week and must be returned by 13 December.


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