The Planning Advisory Service (PAS) recently published a self-assessment guide to help local authority planners better understand their own competencies - and in the process focus on areas for their future development.
The National Competency Framework For Planners takes a systematic approach to core aspects of the job, ordered by three main areas: attributes, knowledge, and skills.
Within those areas, respondents are asked to rate themselves on their ability, their in-practice experience, and their development needs.
Taking the first category of the attributes section as an example, planners are asked to identify how well they focus on outcomes and results by examining eight core elements of that competence and separately rating their confidence in applying them, their experience at applying them, and their perceived development needs.
In the final category, options range from a recognition that basic coaching and support is required to the assertion that the participant could mentor others in the area.
The self-assessment tool follows the same format through a further 15 or so subject areas, which move on from attributes to knowledge areas such as sustainable development and infrastructure to skills such as spatial plan-making and development management, each time identifying a sub-set of competencies and asking for ratings of confidence, experience, and development needs.
It is intended to not only encourage participants to reflect specifically about their training and development needs, but also act as a potential discussion-starter with colleagues and managers.
Unsurprisingly, PAS advises participants to be as honest as possible in providing their answers, but it also flags up the positive effects of enlisting the help of those most familiar with your work in rating your performance.
That has the benefit of ensuring that the resulting answers are not overly cautious, or wildly optimistic.
The National Competency Framework for Planners can be downloaded here.