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Public sector capacity programme expands into the North

Words: Laura Edgar
The north of England / iStock-157336374

Social enterprise Public Practice has announced that it will expand its public sector capacity programme to the North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber.

The organisation works with public sector authorities to identify capacity gaps in planning and place-shaping teams and then matches suitable candidates to year-long placements. Until now, Public Practice’s Associate Programme has focused on the South East and East of England.

In February, Homes England and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) announced an investment of more than £200,000 into the organisation to aid its expansion. This announcement is the first step.

Before the expansion, three months of consultation and research took place to build evidence that shaped the direction and approach for how it will expand its programme nationally.

This included a local authority resourcing and skills survey, which received 353 responses from local authority officers across the country. It found that attracting skilled staff is the largest recruitment issue facing local authorities, with 79 per cent of respondents struggling.

The next most pressing difficulties cited by around half of all respondents included funding, retention, or recruitment delays.

The following skills are prioritised by more than half of all respondents:

  • Digital and data - 64.3 per cent
  • Architecture, urban design and masterplanning - 62.2 per cent
  • Environmental sustainability - 60.3 per cent
  • Ecology and biodiversity - 56.5 per cent

Public Practice is now calling for placements in the North, as well as in the South East, London and East of England until the 30 May. Combined authorities, local authorities, county councils and unitary authorities are invited to express their interest.

Applications from built environment experts with a minimum of three years of experience are welcome.

Anna Rose, director of Public Practice, said: “Public Practice is ideally placed to work with local authorities to help them to identify their personnel needs and to work with them to find the people to fulfil them.

“Public Practice has built up a wealth of experience in this field and can offer this to authorities in the north of England as part of their expansion plans with DLUHC and Homes England. Local authorities are facing many challenges and yet alongside this are opportunities. Public Practice is part of the capacity-building solution which will ensure that authorities can capture the opportunities as they are presented.”

Read more:

Public sector capacity bolstered by Public Practice

Government agency invests in Public Practice

Image credit | iStock