Regional Enterprise – known as RE – is the joint venture set up between the London Borough of Barnet and outsourcing firm Capita to run development and enforcement services in the borough. Although currently focused on Barnet, the borough and Capita plan to expand the service provision across south-east England.
Joe Henry, RE’s assistant director for development management and building control, talks about the operation and two jobs it recently advertised.
Q: Who are you looking for?
A: We advertised for a planner and a senior planner for roles where we previously had agency workers, to deal with an increasing backlog of work. We’re also interested in growth opportunities and we need to ensure that we’ve got the capacity to deliver our future aspirations.
All councils have a pre-application advisory service, but the new recruits will play their part in helping us enhance that offer with a fast-track service offering shorter timescales and also a bespoke service, tailored to an individual client’s needs.
Q: Who would you like to fill those roles?
A: We’re happy to consider a range of different types of candidates, but what we’re looking to see are people who have a bit of business acumen.
Our new recruits will help us to increase capacity in our teams. We’ve done pilots with premium application services, and demand has been phenomenal. We had been told that a few developers would probably be interested, but we got a load of requests.
Among other services that we’re looking to provide are development and agent services, where householders can get application advice, and have their plans drawn up. We’re looking at a one-stop-shop where you can tag on building regulations work, too.
Q: What can people expect working for RE in Barnet?
I think people will find it more exciting to work for RE than they would for a typical council planning office. Morale is high because officers are starting to realise that opportunities are available and that they will be rewarded for doing well. There will be incentive schemes put in place.
Part of what we’re trying to do is make sure that planning is not an obstacle but a facilitator to growth.
The key for us is that we will invest in the people that we bring in. We’re committed to investing in five days per anum of training for staff, and we pay professional-fees subscriptions for our staff. We certainly do encourage our officers to upskill themselves.