A new generation of building design professionals are being placed within local government to help shape places for the public good. This programme, created by the organisation Public Practice, aims to build the public sector’s capacity to deliver homes and growth, make better places, and share skills and knowledge across authorities.
Public Practice acts as a broker, selecting Associates and matching them to authorities in need of additional planning and placemaking expertise. It offers authorities a cost-effective model to build the public sector’s capacity over the longer-term. Local authorities are using the first cohort to bring in design expertise, as almost half of councils lack any in house design capacity.
The first cohort (2018/19) offers placements in London and the South East, however this will be expanded with future cohorts. Placements range from setting up council-led house building programmes to shaping masterplans for new garden towns.
"Public Practice offers access to a new pool of talent at a significantly lower cost than recruitment agencies, as well as opportunities for learning, networking, and sharing collective knowledge. Authorities interested in hosting a placement are supported by Public Practice to define the role and select an Associate from shortlisted candidates." (1)
“In the long-term the initiative aims to transform perceptions of public planning and build the public sector’s capacity to deliver more homes." (2)
This is a new scheme so the results are yet to be assessed.