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Public Practice looks for next round of 2019 placements

Words: Laura Edgar
Public Practice /iStock-863497498-(2)

Social enterprise Public Practice has launched a call for applications for the next round of placements, as the spring 2019 cohort begins work.

Following new capacity funding for local authorities from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Homes England and the Mayor of London, Public Practice is doubling the frequency of its placement programme with a call for applications for a third cohort starting in October 2019.

The scheme is now in its second year, and 37 Public Practice associates have started this month across 24 local authorities. The first year saw 17 people take part in the programme.

Of the authorities that took part in the first year, 94 per cent signed up for a second round of placements, while nine new authorities signed up, including Ashford Borough Council; London Borough of Enfield; Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea; and Thurrock Council. The second cohort comprises experts in community participation, housing delivery, landscape architecture and structural engineering as well as planners.

Associates’ roles include: introducing sustainable action plans in Ashford and Epping Forest; supporting high streets to respond to changes in the local economy in Barnet and Enfield; co-designing new housing and regeneration with communities in Newham and Old Oak & Park Royal; and helping to masterplan new garden communities such as Northstowe, Harlow & Gilston and Chilmington Green.

Public Practice said local authorities have used the programme to introduce new ways of working, deliver in-house training, and in three cases establish entirely new urban design teams. Of the 17 associates from the first cohort, 16 are continuing to work within the public sector.

Finn Williams, CEO and co-founder of Public Practice, said: “Public Practice was founded at a time when the capacity and status of public planning appeared to be at an all-time low. But there are already signs that this landscape is starting to shift. In just over a year we have seen more than 400 practitioners apply to join the programme. The quality of these candidates is inspiring authorities to create exciting new cross-cutting roles. In turn, these opportunities to work strategically, in the public interest, are attracting a whole new pool of talent to local government. Over two-thirds of our applicants haven’t applied for public sector jobs before.

“What started out as a small group of associates is beginning to build into a movement that goes beyond Public Practice, and will hopefully improve the planning and design of all kinds of everyday places.”

Authorities interested in hosting associates and built environment practitioners interested in joining the programme can apply on the Public Practice website until by 3 June.

Image credit | Shutterstock