Last week the PSP team sponsored a ‘Tips for Success in Local Government Planning’ hosted by the Planning Institute of Australia. A panel of experts from Local Government represented a breadth of planning experience, statutory, strategic, enforcement, regional and metro. While there, we learnt how to get the most out of your Local Government career and how to appreciate your role in the council.
These are our four key takeaways...
Focus on the big picture
Planning can be challenging, as a planner you face so many different pressures, externally from the community, internally from the organization, not to mention time pressures, etc. It’s important to take a step back and remember why you do what you do. Try not to get lost in the process and remember planners are the key to the community to achieving their dreams!
A really good tip from Amanda Cuxson (Statutory Planning Coordinator, Investigations and Projects at Nillumbik Shire Council) - was to go out and view some of the applications you have approved in the area as it might look different in real life. It may have made sense at the time and on paper but when you see it in reality, it might not. Or on the other hand, it may look awesome and it will remind you of the impact one of your decisions can have.
Understand the organisation
There are so many different elements within planning for you to get involved in, that was reflective in the breadth of experience in the panel alone. There are many avenues you can take your career and you don’t need to feel ‘stuck’ in one area or in one organization.
Get involved in process improvements, take the opportunity to learn and grow your skillset when given the chance. Learn from those around you, don’t be afraid to ask questions and use the senior team members to tap into their knowledge and experience.
A tip from Natasha Swan (Manager of City Planning – City of Monash) - Integrate with other departments in the organization. You’ll find you get a lot more achieved and in a shorter time frame when you take the time to understand the people around you and what their drivers are. When you are waiting for another team to come back on something, walk across and ask in person, instead of sending an email. You also have the opportunity to learn from other disciplines this way, too.
Applicants are people too!
The planning scheme can be tricky to navigate for planners, let alone for people who are not qualified, imagine how they feel trying to understand the legislation and how to interpret it. Planners have a tendency for being too technical at times, perhaps it’s time to bring it back to basics for the customer. Be open and honest with applicants and you will quickly form relationships and build rapport with the community. Breakdown the barriers between applicants and yourself by empathising with them.
A great tip from John Ciavarella (Manager of Statutory Planning – City of Ballarat) - Do not tell the applicant how they CAN’T do something, instead show them how they CAN!
Power of Planning
Planners are the frontline troops, delivering the community's hopes and dreams. Every small decision you make leads to an accumulative change.
The smallest application can make a difference to the community or even one street. Chad Griffiths spoke about ‘death by a thousand cuts’ and how each minor planning decision could lead to the eventual death of an area – so think of that in reverse, each minor decision can change a place for the better. Try not to get disheartened if you find yourself doing 20 sheds and remember the possible impact.
A great tip from Chad Griffiths (Principal Strategic Planner – Brimbank City Council) - “Don’t underestimate the power of your influence.”
(Side note, my director said if Chad was running for a political party he would vote for him, this will give you an idea of how empowering this sentiment was!)
We left the event with a broader understanding and respect for the planning profession and are excited to support more planners on their journey to success within Local Government.
If you are interested in exploring opportunities in Local Government, connect with Emma here for a confidential chat.
PSP currently seeking a Senior Landscape Architect to work for a metro council on a contract basis until June 2021. Joining a busy council, you will be working on parklands and streetscape upgraded. You will be working on the design and delivery of these projects. Covering a period of long service leave, you will come on board and have an extensive hand over period. This is a Band 7 role and we are seeking an LA with local government experience who is competent with design, documentation and contract administration. The role will be remote working initially, with a view to returning to the office mid 2021. Requirements include: A tertiary qualification in Landscape Architecture, Urban Design or other associated profession. Contract administration and consultant management skills are a must. Previous Local Government experience. Benefits include: Secure work through to end of June 2021. Add to your portfolio with experience in a busy metro council. $50- $65 per hour, with flexible working hours. Remote working initially. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at PSP on (03) 8535 3111.
Public Sector People are seeking a Senior Strategic Planner for a six month contract for a metro council. Covering an internal secondment, you will be working on translating the planning scheme into the new format required by Smart planning program. You will also be working on planning scheme amendments and managing the exhibition and assessment of submissions. You will get the opportunity to work on the development of a new transport strategy and community plan. This is a long term contract opportunity, which could well go beyond six months. On the run up to Christmas the role will be fully remote and coming into 2021, there may be some requirement to attend the office for collaboration meetings, but will be mostly remote based working. We are seeking a strong Band 6 planner with local government experience. Flexible working hours available and competitive hourly rate. This is suited to a planner seeking a new challenge and a long term opportunity. Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in Town Planning, Urban Studies, Environmental Planning or related discipline. Strong communication skills, ability to meet deadlines and work autonomously. Previous Local Government experience at a Band 6 level. Benefits include: Remote working and flexible hours. Six month contract with opportunity for permanency. Competitive hourly rate. Work within a very busy metro council, with a variety of work to sink your teeth into. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at PSP on (03) 8535 3111. Alternatively, please e-mail your current resume in Word format using the link below.
PSP are currently working with an outer ring Council in the North East suburbs who require a Senior Planner for a contract role to start ASAP through until middle of January. This is a large metro based council but you will see a different caseload to other metro councils, you will be working on ‘rural’ planning issues, such as, sheds, bush fire management, vegetation overlays, etc. This is a contract role which is currently until January 2021, but likely to be extended. Given this is a short term contract, the successful candidate will be an experienced Local Government planner who can hit the ground running. You will be provided equipment to get set up to work remotely. Requirements include: Tertiary qualification in Town Planning, Urban Studies, Environmental Planning or related discipline. Experience working with Victorian Planning Scheme, ideally in a metropolitan context. Available for an immediate start. Benefits include: Secure work to start ASAP. Remote working. Flexible work hours and hourly rate negotiable. Please apply with your current resume. For a confidential discussion regarding this position and other opportunities within Metropolitan and Regional Victoria, please contact Emma Murphy at PSP (03) 8535 3111.
Public Sector People are working with a local council in the South Eastern suburbs on the recruitment of an Environmental Health Officer. This is a contract role which will take you through until the end of December 2020. You will be provided with ongoing support within this role, you will be working in the office alongside a Senior Officer. You will be able to demonstrate your excellent industry knowledge and previous experience working for a Local Council as an EHO. You will be able to competently complete registered premises inspections whilst communicating with local proprietors in a professional manner. You will be working on Customer complaint investigations Public Health and Wellbeing Act inspections Food Act inspections Pandemic Team support Health promotion support and program implementation and development Customer engagement and setting expectations Requirements include: Suitable qualifications – Bachelor of Applied Science or Health Science (Environmental Health) – or recognised equivalency Recent public sector experience as a practicing Environmental Health Officer, or membership with Environmental Health Australia Current Victorian driver licence. Previous Local Government experience as an EHO. For a confidential discussion regarding this opportunity or other Environmental Health roles within public sector, please contact Emma Murphy on (03) 8535 3111 | Emma@publicsectorpeople.com.au.