Sir Peter Hall Room (G01) Central House
GB, London, University College London, WC1H 0NN
Serving the Public Interest? A Seminar and Discussion on the Role of the Planner in Contemporary UK Planning
For the past year, the Working in the Public Interest Research Project has been exploring the contemporary work of planners, and in particular the role of the private sector in public planning. In January 2019, we published in conjunction with the RTPI, our first report 'Serving the Public Interest: The Reorganisation of UK Planning Services in an Era of Reluctant Outsourcing'. This was based on the results of a series of focus groups across the UK, which explored the current landscape of planning work. In addition, a Freedom of Information request has yielded valuable data on the extent of outsourcing in local authority planning. This work has highlighted a number of trends, including the rise of the 'austerity planner', the commercialisation of planning services, and the reluctance to outsource planning work to the private sector.
Dr Zan Gunn (Newcastle University) and Dr Ben Clifford (UCL) will present the results of this work, followed by responses to the report by Professor Mike Raco (UCL Bartlett School of Planning), Professor Gavin Parker (University of Reading Henley Business School) and Alice Lester (Head of Planning Transport and Licensing, Brent Council). This will hopefully then stimulate a wider discussion about the future of the planning professional, the type and value of work that is carried out in planning, and the extent to which such work truly helps to promote the public interest.