The short term skills gap in local authorities

Project details

Full project title: Implementing plans for transport and the built environment: Addressing the short term skills gap in local authorities

Sponsors: County Surveyors Society

Project Manager: Professor Glenn Lyons

Researcher: Reg Harman

Start date: October 2002

Finish date: March 2003

Project briefing sheet: Download the project briefing sheet document (PDF)

Project report: Download the final project report document (PDF)

Project summary

Government transport policies, set out in the 1998 transport White Paper, aim for a comprehensive change in patterns of transport, for both passenger and freight movement, to meet the broad objective of sustainability. They form a step change on the regime in force under previous administrations, and require significant changes in the thinking and skills of professional and supporting staff, and an increase in numbers.

Much of the responsibility for implementation has been placed on local authorities, especially those designated as highway and transport authorities, focused through the Local Transport Plans and Annual Progress Reports in England and Wales, and similar documents in Scotland, Northern Ireland and London, and through their role in urban and regional planning and other related activities.

The major changes in these policies and the processes to develop and implement them have brought a serious shortfall of staff, with local authorities appearing to be particularly affected. The matter has been addressed by various bodies, including the various professional institutes and other societies in the field.

Transport Planning Skills Initiative

The Transport Planning Society in 2001 launched the Transport Planning Skills Initiative (TPSI), supported by Government and a range of other bodies, which aims through a series of programmes to increase the range of education and training, to bring more people into transport planning and to support continuing professional development. Whilst the skills problem is profession-wide, public authorities in particular are charged with achieving meaningful changes to transport patterns in the short term as well as over time if current policy aims are to be realised: indeed, without short term changes, the broad public support for the new policies will be lost, and further changes to policies may follow.

To address this public authorities' issue specifically, the County Surveyors Society commissioned the Unit to review current problems and initiatives among their member authorities. The main part of the work involved a questionnaire survey of member authorities.