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Royal Town Planning Institute seal of approval for city council

The work of Milton Keynes City Council’s award-winning planning team to develop the next generation of planners is being shared as good practice by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

Last year the city council launched its Planning Academy to help graduates kick-start their careers with the opportunity to work in one of the fastest growing cities in the UK. Graduates receive invaluable experience by working on some of country’s biggest projects covering urban design and conservation, alongside core planning services and the opportunity to develop the New City Plan. The city council is investing in high quality training, including RTPI apprenticeships, to ensure Planning Academy graduates can continue to develop and diversify their careers, developing a portfolio of achievements that will be used to support their RTPI Assessment of Professional Competence.

Milton Keynes City Council has been working closely with the RTPI throughout this education project, to develop learning for the sector and act as a benchmark of excellence for other authorities to learn from. At a time when many UK councils are struggling to recruit and retain Planners, other authorities could learn from the particular practice and findings from Milton Keynes to develop similar Planning Academy schemes.

In recent years MK City Council has won a number of RTPI Planning awards, including ‘best in region’ and ‘best plan’. In 2022 the RTPI judges were impressed by the city council’s Sustainable Construction Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), which sets out guidance for developers so they can better understand the strict sustainability standards for zero carbon homes and commercial buildings in MK. Last year, MK City Council won regional local Planning authority of the Year and also ‘best in region’ and was singled out at the national event as highly commended.

“We’ve made transformational changes to our Planning team in recent years and as a result we’re among the best performing planning authorities. We’re keen to continue working with the RTPI to find even more ways to move forwards. Our recent awards are a testament to the collective efforts of city council colleagues to develop and maintain a highly professional Planning function.

“It’s no coincidence that we’re comfortably beating housebuilding targets or that major international businesses choose to move to Milton Keynes. They can make the most of our skilled and motivated team to support them. With more well-planned and sustainable growth set out in our Strategy for 2050, I’m particularly encouraged by the work we’re doing to foster a new generation of planners who can guide these plans into a reality.”

- Leader of Milton Keynes City Council, Cllr Pete Marland

"We are pleased to highlight Milton Keynes City Council's Planning Academy as an example of good practice in developing the next generation of planners. By investing in high-quality RTPI-accredited training and apprenticeships, the council is building a talented team to deliver its ambitious growth programme. We hope that local authorities can find inspiration in the Council’s work, attracting a diverse range of talent into the planning profession and local authorities."

- Andrew Close, Director of Education and Profession at the RTPI


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