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The collaborating planner?

The collaborating planner?: Practitioners in the neoliberal age

Ben Clifford
Mark Tewdwr-Jones
Copyright Date: 2013
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  • Book Info
    The collaborating planner?
    Book Description:

    Since the turn of the 21st century, there has been a greater pace of reform to planning in Britain than at any other time. As a public sector activity, planning has also been impacted heavily by the wider changes in the way we are governed. Yet whilst such reform has been extensively commented upon within academia, few have empirically explored how these changes are manifesting themselves in planning practice. This new book aims to understand how both specific planning and broader public sector reforms have been experienced and understood by chartered town planners working in local authorities across Great Britain. After setting out the reform context, successive chapters then map responses across the profession to the implementation of spatial planning, to targets, to public participation and to the idea of a 'customer-focused' planning, and to attempts to change the culture of the planning. Each chapter outlines the reaction by the profession to reforms promoted by successive central and devolved governments over the last decade, before considering the broader issues of what this tells us about how modernisation is rolled-out by frontline public servants. This accessible book fills a gap in the market and makes ideal reading for students and researchers interested in the UK planning system.

    eISBN: 978-1-4473-0512-5
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-ii)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. iii-iii)
  3. List of figures, tables and boxes
    (pp. iv-vi)
  4. Abbreviations and acronyms
    (pp. vii-viii)
  5. Notes on the authors
    (pp. ix-ix)
  6. Acknowledgements
    (pp. x-x)
  7. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  8. ONE Introduction: planning at the coalface in a time of constant change
    (pp. 1-38)

    In the first two quotations, the former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott raises a number of interesting ideas: that the planning system was an important part of the postwar British welfare state; that the New Labour government in Britain saw this public service as in need of reform when it came to power; and that the Labour administration was determined to reform planning. And yet Prescott also implies that this reform was somehow a simple process, that the planning system had become ‘inefficient’, ‘and so we embarked on a major programme of planning reform.’ In fact, as this book will...

  9. TWO Conceptualising governance and planning reform
    (pp. 39-60)

    We saw in Chapter One that both the planning system and the wider public sector context in which British planning is situated have been the objects of concerted reform over the last 15 years in central and devolved government in Great Britain. Hull sums up the reforms thus:

    Public service provision has been slowly re-configured since the early 1980s by the introduction of ‘market’ measures of efficiency. So far, the ‘hard’ infrastructure of the planning system has remained relatively unscathed from the privatisation of services and State assets….The main changes have been to the ‘soft’ infrastructure of the planning system;...

  10. THREE The planner within a professional and institutional context
    (pp. 61-82)

    The British planning system essentially comprises of a tripartite administrative arrangement, between the political, the judicial and the professional (Regan, 1978). The professional component rests on the assumption that planning is a technical and rational activity, involving the development and application of policies by qualified planning professionals and the deployment of skills gained through formal education and training. Indeed in Britain, membership of the planners’ professional organisation, the RTPI, is only awarded to an individual following the successful completion of an accredited university programme, a period in planning practice and peer group assessment of credentials.

    The judicial component features the...

  11. FOUR Process: implementing spatial planning
    (pp. 83-114)

    Although the key underlying principles of the British planning system have remained static since 1947, namely LPAs formulating some sort of plan envisaging policies to manage land use in their areas 15-20 years into the future and then determining applications against these plans and other ‘material considerations’ (Allmendinger, 2011), there have been some concerted efforts to reform the scope of, and process for preparing, plans since the turn of the century. Naturally these process reforms have captured the attention of practitioners and academics alike, as they cut to the heart of planning practice. The most notable reform over the last...

  12. FIVE Management: the efficiency agenda, audit and targets
    (pp. 115-148)

    Just as the growth of local spatial planning, examined in Chapter Four, has been the major reform for policy planners, so the growth of auditing and targets appears to have been the major reform facing development control planners over the last decade. Michael was quite clear on the impact of targets for his professional life:

    “Yes, well they’ve had a very, very significant effect on the job, there’s no question. I mean if I had to say, if I had to say the most significant impact on the last six years for me, it has been the targets.”

    This comment...

  13. SIX Participation: planners and their ‘customers’
    (pp. 149-196)

    During the research on New Labour and planning reform, the topic of public participation cropped up in conversation.¹ “Ah”, said the planner, “when I was doing my planning course we had a Canadian planner come to chat to us, as they were ahead of us in terms of public participation in those days. He told us how terrible it was, that the only thing they could get done was plant trees, because nobody objected to that, and that seems to me a danger of where we are headed in this country.” The planner then smiled wryly before adding, “well actually...

  14. SEVEN Culture: the planning ‘ethos’
    (pp. 197-220)

    In a series of articles spanning the 1970s into the 1990s and 2000s, Wildavsky (1972), Reade (1983), Wadley and Smith (1998), Huxley (1999) and Phelps and Tewdwr-Jones (2008) have considered the questions of what is planning and whether it can be distinguished as a discipline. Aaron Wildavsky set this series in train with perhaps the most critical perspectives of the discipline of planning, whose reputation was restored to some extent in subsequent articles by Reade (1983), Huxley (1999) and Phelps and Tewdwr-Jones (2008). Nevertheless, Reade came to the conclusion that ‘we should regard with considerable scepticism the idea that there...

  15. EIGHT Conclusion: the importance of planning’s front line
    (pp. 221-246)

    In this book, we have discussed how we can conceptualise and understand the role of frontline planners, and how those same planners experience the ongoing reforms of planning and the public sectors. As Schofield and Sausman write:

    The reality of policy initiatives is experienced by the frontline professionals and public servants who do not generally make up policy elites. If the elite system has no feedback mechanism by which to monitor and access the policy reality, the whole arena of knowledge capture based on experience is lost. (2004, p 245)

    The accounts of frontline planners constitute the reality of planning...

  16. Notes
    (pp. 247-250)
  17. References
    (pp. 251-282)
  18. Index
    (pp. 283-288)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 289-289)