We are pleased to say that Daniel Allwood has gained his Chartered Town Planning Membership on his first attempt! We took the opportunity to find out from him more about the process and the benefits it will bring.
Congratulations on receiving your membership with RTPI, what was the process you had to go through to receive your membership?
Thank you, it feels good to have got it under my belt and on my first attempt makes it all even sweeter.
After completing the relevant RTPI accredited educational qualifications (Bachelor and Masters degrees), I then had to gain the relevant professional spatial planning experience befitting to a chartered planner, with an emphasis on achieving clear progression in my career and demonstrating a specific set of competencies,
I was required to put together a number of documents that formed part of the written Assessment of Professional Competency (APC) submission, which is the main route to becoming a Chartered Town Planner. I was required to document my experience (minimum of 12 months) in a Logbook. I chose to document two years’ worth of experience, as I believed this would demonstrate a greater level of relevant experience to the assessor and help inform the other elements of my written submission.
There are three main documents to the submission – Practical Experience Statement, Professional Competence Statement and Professional Development Plan. The Practical Experience Statement gave me the opportunity to provide a summary and showcase my career experience to-date. The most important part of this element was to demonstrate clear progression as a professional planner. The Professional Competence Statement was the most difficult element of the written submission, as it was the most difficult element of the written submission, as it required extensive reflection and really drilling down into the detail i.e the rationale behind certain decisions and the subsequent implications of those actions. Through the use of my own case studies, I needed to demonstrate how I had achieved a number of competencies set out by the RTPI as integral to a professional planner, including (amongst others) understanding the spatial planning context, gathering appropriate information and dealing with ethical challenges. The Professional Development Plan is pretty much how it sounds – putting together a clear plan of action for my career development over the next two years. This consisted of setting out goals and objectives to help improve the weaknesses and the areas I needed to develop which I previously identified in my Logbook and SWOT analysis.
What do you feel was the most challenging part of gaining your membership?
The Professional Competence Statement was undoubtedly, for me, the most challenging. The difficulty is trying to robustly demonstrate that you have hit all the relevant competencies, without having too light a touch. Equally, doing so within the word count set, striking the balance between enough detail and going overboard – concise writing was critical to the submission.
How do you feel receiving your membership has helped with your day-to-day work?
It is obviously a great feeling to be considered by your professional body as good enough to be ‘chartered’ but, in all honesty, I don’t feel like a lot has changed since receiving my membership. The process itself has certainly helped me to be more reflective of my work and think more about why I am doing things in a certain way and making specific decisions. I suppose it also makes you feel more credible to clients, other consultants etc if you have those additional letters next to your name.
What advice would you give to someone in the process of gaining their membership?
My advice would be to start your Logbook as early as possible and in as much detail as you can, because it will make writing your main part of the submission a lot easier. I would also say seek the help and advice of your colleagues especially in relation to reviewing your submission and drawing out the key points. I personally found both these things very helpful.
I would also say, don’t go for it until you are ready and genuinely confident that you have got the relevant experience and can demonstrate thoroughly you have hit the competencies. There is no point ‘jumping the gun’ and putting in a premature submission for the sake of it!
Find out more about Daniel and his planning background here.