Craig McClaren: Project One Institute - consistency whilst meeting members’ needs
Craig McClaren talks about the Royal Town Planning Institute’s project to build on the strength of the nations and regions so it can better meet its members’ needs.
The RTPI’s nations and regions are an incredibly important part of the Institute that work within and across a diverse range of circumstances. Our Corporate Strategy highlights the crucial role played in promoting the RTPI’s ambitions and realising the vision and mission.
In particular our nations and regions allow us to build and maintain relationships with members, key stakeholders, and employers locally; to support and promote the profession, the Institute, planning as a career and planning aid services in their area; and to provide services that meet the needs of members such as CPD events, networking opportunities and awards.
We want to build on these strengths and, given this, over the last year we have been engaging across the Institute to explore how we can bolster their contribution to our corporate strategy. It is clear that this requires early engagement, collaboration and co-design and ensuring that there is regular, constructive and ongoing dialogue across the RTPI.
Taking this “One Institute” approach will enable us to provide consistency across our work and services, whilst at the same time ensure that we meet members’ needs and take approaches that fit with local circumstances. We want to build upon the key strengths of our nations and regions particularly their strong link to members and local stakeholders with them often being the first point of contact for members; them being in a position to know what is going on in their area; and their agility to react and respond to local circumstances and opportunities.
In taking this forward the nations and regions are being embedded earlier in the development of key corporate projects including, for example, our new brand strategy, the development of our approach to growing membership, the delivery of our volunteer strategy and the current education policy review.
We have reconfigured our awards to make the nations and regions the initial point of entry that that are then fed through to the UK and Ireland National Awards. We are also collaboratively developing a” One Institute Charter” that will help everyone involved in the RTPI – volunteers and staff – to be clear on their contribution and how they can collaborate with others.
There is still more to do. We are working to improve communication with and between the nations and regions to support more effective dialogue between chairs and convenors. This should help develop more strategic working and build upon great examples such the Great North Plan and Planner Live North events where RTPI North East, RTPI North West and RTPI Yorkshire collaborated to great effect.
To support this we are also working to support those active members supporting our work in the nations and regions. In implementing our Volunteer Strategy we are developing an online Volunteer Hub that will provide the information and guidance needed for volunteers to support their work whilst we are looking to see how we can better share best practice across regions and nations.
We continue to take this work forward so watch this space for updates. In the meantime think about how you can help to make the nations and regions an even stronger part of the Institute. An early opportunity is standing for your National Executive Committee or Regional Management Board when the nominations open on 5 September.
- Craig McLaren is the RTPI’s director of Scotland, Ireland and English regions