EO Planning- Graduate Planners

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

Closing date: 24 Mar 2019

Reference number



£26,808 (London) £23,895 (National)


Executive Officer

Contract type

Fixed Term

Length of employment

2 Year fixed term contract

Business area

Other - Planning

Type of role


Working pattern

Flexible working, Full-time, Job share, Part-time


37 hours per week

Number of posts



City of Westminster, London, SW1P 4DF

About the job

Job description

Overview of the area of work:

The planning system is one of the key tools the Government has to deliver sustainable growth including new housing. Its speed, effectiveness and the behaviours of the people that operate within it, and those that make use of it, are critical to overall economic success.

These are exciting and challenging roles at the heart of the Government's growth agenda. The roles are likely to involve opportunities to work with senior officials across Whitehall, as well as engagement with a wide range of external partners including business and local government. Post holders will also work collaboratively with colleagues across the Planning and Housing Directorates as well as closely with legal colleagues and analysts.


These are two year fixed term posts pen to applicants on level transfer and promotion.

Working in the Planning Directorate

The Planning Directorate in MHCLG Headquarters is organised into 5 planning divisions as follows:

• Planning - Development Plans: Responsible for plan-making across neighbourhood, local and strategic planning functions and for policy relating to gypsy & travellers, and minerals and waste. Posts may be located in offices in locations at Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Plymouth.

• Planning - Development Management: Responsible for policy relating to development management and the end to end planning application process including permitted development, appeals, and a range of related areas such as planning enforcement and the compulsory purchase process. The division is also responsible for policy on protecting the historic environment.

• Planning - Policy and Reform: Responsible for the National Planning Policy Framework, including planning for housing, planning policies relating to economic growth and the environment. The division also has responsibility for coordinating cross directorate projects including for fiscal events.

• Planning - Infrastructure: Responsible for local infrastructure policy, including section 106 and the community infrastructure levy. It also has responsibility for the effective operation of the 2008 Planning Act regime for delivering nationally significant infrastructure projects, and the National Infrastructure Commission. In addition, good quality infrastructure is an essential component of sustainable development, housing delivery, and economic productivity. This will involve developing policy to explore the development of shale oil and gas resources in a safe, sustainable and timely way.

• Planning - Casework: the division handles around 40 types of statutory casework, including advising Ministers on whether planning applications should be 'called in'; decisions on recovered appeals and on planning applications that have been called-in for the secretary of state's decision and on major CPOs. The Casework Division has offices in locations at Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Plymouth.

• The Directorate also has a business support unit responsible for overall programme and project management unit, financial management and corporate governance.

The Roles

The MHCLG Planning Graduate Programme offers a unique opportunity to start a career in planning at the centre of national policy The Programme offers a two year placement with the chance to get involved in developing new planning policies as they emerge and be at the heart of planning decisions.

Planning Graduates will undertake:

• Placements in the Planning Directorate’s policy divisions developing new planning policies and/or delivering new planning legislation.

• Placement in planning casework where you will support the Secretary of State and Housing Minister on appeal decisions and call in cases.

• 5 Days Learning & Development per year – including the opportunity to attend the Young Planner’s Conference.

• 5 Days Learning & Networking per year – opportunities to shadow within MHCLG’s wide network of contacts.

The Graduates will be supported by Programme Coordinator with a two day induction course. They will also have an individual dedicated Mentor and support for the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC). RTPI and APC submission fees are also paid by MHCLG.

Person specification

These are specialist Planning Profession roles, which will require relevant experience (such as planning policy development, development plans or development management), and knowledge and understanding of the planning system including experience and evidence of eligibility for membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).


These are professional posts and applicants should have or be eligible for membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

Key area of expertise, we are looking for Planners who can demonstrate:
• Excellent written, presentational, and verbal communication skills.
• Ability to work under pressure.
• Good listening and negotiating skills.
• Good people and project management skills.
• Strong analytical skills and the ability to cope with technically and legally complex cases.
• Ability to communicate technical matters clearly and simply to a non-specialist audience

Key skills/criteria:

For all candidates:
• Good knowledge of the history and development of the planning system in England and how the planning system in England works.
• Good understanding of the key priorities of the Government and how this will impact on the planning system, along with the key government planning policies.
• Experience of effectively working with a range of stakeholders, and/or members of the public.
• Ability to deliver pieces of work on technical planning matters in short deadlines.
• Good political awareness and understanding of central and local government.


We'll assess you against these behaviours during the selection process:

  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Delivering at Pace

Technical skills

We'll assess you against these technical skills during the selection process:

  • Planning Profession Skills
  • Technical Knowledge



Civil Service pension schemes may be available for successful candidates.


Transfers across the Civil Service on or after 4 October 2018:

Staff transferring from other government departments to a new PAYE scheme on any type of move other than TUPE/COSOP will lose their access to salary sacrifice for childcare. However, MHCLG do have childcare voucher scheme for under-5s and have a staff benefits scheme offering cycle to work and discounted shopping vouchers.
For further information about the benefits available to MHCLG employees, please see the attached Candidate Pack.

Things you need to know


Successful candidates must pass a disclosure and barring security check.
Successful candidates must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is counter-terrorist check.

Nationality statement

Candidates will be subject to UK immigration requirements as well as Civil Service nationality rules.

If you're applying for a role requiring security clearance please be aware that foreign or dual nationality is not an automatic bar. However certain posts may have restrictions which could affect those who do not have sole British nationality or who have personal connections with certain countries outside the UK.

Selection process details

This vacancy is using Success Profiles, and will assess your Behaviours, Strengths, Experience and Technical skills.
Please note:

MHCLG want to bring in and bring on a diverse workforce at all levels.

The application system is designed to remove as much bias as possible from the recruitment system – this means that a hiring manager does not know your name, your details, see your whole application in one go (or have your CV at review stage unless stated otherwise).

Your answers are randomised and chunked up. This means that each assessor views sets of responses to questions for example all candidates’ responses to ‘Seeing the Big Picture’ rather than seeing a candidate’s full application. The science behind this is that recruitment can be subject to ordering and fatigue effects and we want to reduce this as much as possible.

Most of our campaigns utilise multiple assessors and so it is possible that each of your answers would be viewed by different assessors.

When writing your application, remember:
• That the assessor won’t be reading your answers sequentially.
• Do not assume that the same assessors will have read all of your answers.
• If talking about something in your first answer, make sure that write the second answer as if you had not written the first (and so on!)

At sift, we will be assessing:


• Making Effective Decisions: When have you made decisions based on data and what was the outcome?

• Delivering at pace: Please provide an example of when you have had to deliver a project to a tight timescale, and explain how you delivered that project?


• Planning Profession Skills: please provide an example of a situation that challenged a specific area of your planning skills? What did you do to overcome that challenge?

• Technical Knowledge – What experience do you have of using your planning knowledge to deliver a more effective and sustainable outcome?

There is a 250 word limit per question.

In the event that we receive a large number of applications, we may conduct an initial sift based on the Planning Profession Skills and Technical Knowledge.

The interview will be of a blended nature consisting of behaviour, experience, ability, and strength based questions as listed in the advert. The strength based questions will require natural responses from the candidates. Shortlisted candidates will also be required to prepare a written paper and short a presentation testing experience and ability. Further details will be provided following sift.
Feedback will only be provided if you attend an interview or assessment.

Nationality requirements

Open to UK, Commonwealth and European Economic Area (EEA) and certain non EEA nationals. Further information on whether you are able to apply is available here.


Candidates in their probationary period are eligible to apply for vacancies within this department.

Grade entry qualifications

Evidence of eligibility for membership of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

Working for the Civil Service

The Civil Service Code sets out the standards of behaviour expected of civil servants.

We recruit by merit on the basis of fair and open competition, as outlined in the Civil Service Commission's recruitment principles.
The Civil Service embraces diversity and promotes equality of opportunity. There is a guaranteed interview scheme (GIS) for candidates with disabilities who meet the minimum selection criteria.

Terms & Conditions

If you are already an MHCLG member of staff; and are interested applying for this role on a level transfer basis (ie at the same grade), please search for ‘apply for an internal vacancy’ on our intranet page for details on how to apply for this role.

Please note that existing MHCLG staff currently within their probation period are required to complete their probation period within their current role before taking up a new appointment if successful.

• The salary for this role is £26,808 (London) or £23,895 (National), in exceptional circumstances a salary of up to £1,000 higher might be available.

• For existing civil servants, the usual policy on level transfer and promotion will apply and is non-negotiable.

Apply and further information

Contact point for applicants

Name: Alan Cornock
Email: alan.cornock@communities.gov.uk
Phone: 0303 444 1646

Sift/interview dates and location

Sifting is envisaged to take place W/C 25th March 2019 with interviews provisionally scheduled for W/C 8th April 2019 at 2 Marsham Street, London.

Further information


In the event that we identify more appointable candidates than we currently have posts available, we will hold applicant details on a reserve list for a period of 12 months from which further appointments can be made. This may include roles at a lower grade. Candidates placed on a reserve list will be informed of this. Due to the length of time CTC checks can take, our HR Shared Services team will contact reserve list candidates for London based roles to commence CTC checks. Those candidates who do not wish to remain on the reserve list should contact recruitment@communities.gov.uk to be removed from the reserve list.

Important note
Successful candidates for roles based in our 2 Marsham Street building must meet the security requirements before they can be appointed. The level of security needed is counter-terrorist check and the process can take up to 8 weeks to complete.

You are therefore required to complete the attached Annex A form (PART A ONLY) and either email the signed version directly to hrsharedservices@communities.gov.uk. Alternatively, you can post the completed form to MHCLG HR, Ground Floor, Rosebrae Court, Woodside Ferry Approach, Birkenhead, CH41 6DU. This will be processed in cases only where the candidate should be successful in applying for the post. The remainder will be securely destroyed.

Please note that successful candidates will need to pass the CTC security checks – this requires you to have been resident in the UK for the past 3 years. Please refer to the attached document “MHCLG Notes on Security Clearance” for further information on Counter Terrorism Clearance (CTC). Thank you.

Candidates should also note that with effect from 1st August 2018 the department will also check all applicants who are successful at interview, against the Internal Fraud Database (IFD) held by the Cabinet Office. In accordance with the Civil Service Internal Fraud Policy, any applicant who is included on the IFD will be refused employment by MHCLG. Please see detail on attached Internal Fraud Database document.

Share this page