The National Competency Framework for Planners

Archived April 2016. This page will no longer be updated.

The National Competency Framework for Planners 2013 will help planners and managers to maximise the potential of individual planners and to build the capacity of local authority planning departments. It covers the planning attributes, knowledge and skills needed to be an effective planner. The framework will enable an individual to evaluate their knowledge, skills and attributes. It will help managers ensure they have the right people in place to deliver a good service.


Complete the National Competency Framework for Planners (PDF 1.8MB)


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How to use the NCFfP


The NCFfP 2013 is designed to be used in three ways:

  • by an individual planner to help them to develop their competencies, apply those that they have and identify development needs for those that need improving.
  • to enhance performance through setting out and agreeing the skills, knowledge and behaviours required by planners to do their job.  This can be done both informally and as part of an appraisal process.
  • to support a senior manager's planning of departmental structures and resources by allocating expert staff to particular roles; by identifying particular gaps in competencies and seeking to fill these through development and support for individuals; or through recruitment or the use of consultants.


The context for the National Competency Framework for Planners

The role of planners is critical in ensuring that we address national objectives and local aspirations for creating inspiring places, supporting economic growth and housing renewal, and tackling climate change effectively.  In addition there are new ways of working, areas of knowledge and skills required to ensure that the planning profession meets the challenges of delivering sustainable communities and vibrant, quality places.  Successive Government reports published in the last decade have identified a need for new planning skills and significant cultural change in the planning profession. 

In addition to the core competencies involved in being a planner and delivering sustainable communities and vibrant, quality places, additional challenges for the planning profession arising from the planning reform agenda can be summarised as:

Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) are required to address the objectives of this new legislation, while managing changing structures and reductions in available resources, both financial and staffing levels.  The planning profession will need to respond rapidly to these demands by adopting even more flexible and robust ways of working.  There is a need for the profession to use its professionalism to ensure excellence in planning - and in the places that result from it.


Relationship with other assessment approaches

The NCFfP 2013 is designed to sit alongside corporate appraisal and performance and development review systems.  It is intended to be used within the context of the core values of the organisation for which you work.

A local planning authority will choose how to use the NCFfP within its own appraisal and staff development processes and may usefully provide a note for those using the Framework on how it relates to those processes.  It may also want to highlight particular competencies which are especially relevant to the work of the authority and add other more localised competencies.  However, the NCFfP should not be regarded as a menu of options from which some competencies are chosen for assessment and others discarded.

The NCFfP 2013 has been designed specifically to reflect and to complement the Royal Town Planning Institute's Learning Outcomes for RTPI Accredited courses and the Institute's requirements for the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). 


26 April 2016

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