Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

We've won two prestigious awards in a week

Wednesday, 28 June 2023

We won two awards in a week. One went to our Strategic Growth Team and one went to The Place Academy (formerly Planning Academy).

The awards were presented at two separate ceremonies held in the week commencing 19 June, with one acknowledging the Planning Academy's (now known as The Place Academy) outstanding contributions to professional development and planning practices and the other for the Strategic Growth Team’s exceptional work over the past 2 years.

Workforce optimisation award winners 2023

The first accolade went to our Strategic Growth Team which won the Planning Authority of the Year Winner category at the Royal Town Planning Institute’s (RTPI) East of England Planning Excellence Awards ceremony held on 22 June 2023.

The team was recognised for showing great resilience and adapting to unexpected challenges, adopting the Local Plan after a difficult Examination and committing to a challenging work programme.

The judges said:

Central Bedfordshire Council has been recognised for their exceptional work over the past two years. The team has been involved in a variety of projects, including the Local Plan, which was adopted in July 2021 after two separate Examination sessions. This achievement is particularly impressive considering the unexpected challenges that the team faced, such as COVID-19 restrictions and staff changes.

The judges also highlighted our commitment to equality, diversity, inclusivity and tackling inequalities, which was evident in the implementation of Equalities Impact Assessments for all planning policy documents.

The second award was presented at the MJ Achievement Awards held on 23 June, which are a celebration of success stories for people working in local government. Winning the ‘Workforce Optimisation’ category was our Place Academy. To win the award, the team impressed the judging panel at a presentation in April. The Planning Academy was created in 2018 to overcome recruitment difficulties and reliance on temporary staffing. There was a need for an innovative approach to optimise the workforce and grow its own talent. Since 2018, 29 trainees have been employed via the academy's training programme covering planning, building control, flood risk, natural environment, highways and conservation.

Councillor Mary Walsh, our Executive Member for Planning and Development, said:

We are very proud of both teams’ achievements and this recognition of their hard work. These awards are a testament to their dedication and expertise and their commitment to delivering excellence within the planning profession.

We will continue to invest in the development of planning professionals to ensure we deliver the highest quality planning services.

We also remain committed to providing exceptional training opportunities and will continue to drive innovation in the planning sector.