Diversity network: support for success

28th February 2020

Web p33 charlotte morphet

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Education ,
  • Engagement


Jeremy Mathieu

Charlotte Morphet talks to Laura Archer about how diversity networks can boost inclusion within the planning profession – and beyond

Charlotte Morphet is a principal policy planner at the London Borough of Waltham Forest, the co-founder of Women in Planning, trustee of the Planning Officers Society and a member of the Academy of Urbanism's Young Urbanist Steering Committee. She is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion within the workplace, and for the promotion of planning as a profession.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your career journey so far.

I have held a range of roles during my 10 years' experience in the public, private and third sectors, from planning enforcement to consultancy to policy planner. I have been passionate about strategic planning throughout my career, and have focused on this in most of my role. I currently work as a principal policy planner for the London Borough of Waltham Forest. I have also held various roles at the Royal Town Planning Institute, including chair of RTPI London and trustee. I am a trustee of the Planning Officers Society, chairing its NOVUS network, and a member of the Academy of Urbanism's Young Urbanist Steering Committee. I also help set up and run Women in Planning.

What does your daily role consist of?

People think being a policy planner is quiet, but it isn't. Some days I am working on evidence-based commissions to support the Local Plan, the next I could be drafting or editing planning policy or guidance, working on site allocations, undertaking engagement, attending meetings around partnership working (such as housing associations and other public sector bodies), or providing policy advice for masterplans or as part of pre-application advice.

Have you have faced any challenges within your career, and if so, how have you overcome this?

Being a planner during the recession was hard. It took me a long time to get my first role and I completed a lot of internships. Looking back on it now, I think of it as my planning rotation. I have worked in most parts of the system – in training for a third sector organisation, small to very large consultancies and in development management, policy and conservation. It is the best grounding I could have had.

What's the best advice you have been given?

My mum always says 'start by starting', and it truly is the best advice.

“Diversity networks are only likely to work when you have a critical mass of employees“

How did you get the idea to set up the network Women in Planning?

Alison Mackay and I co-founded Women in Planning in 2012 because we didn't see enough women speaking at or attending events, and we wanted to provide an affordable, supportive women's network that focused on planning.

What works well in network events?

It depends on the location, but panel events discussing industry challenges with some great female panellists is always good, and I really enjoyed the housing event I organised at City Hall Рa career highlight. Branches are also now offering training, from leadership to mock public inquiry training. If I hadn't attended the mock inquiry training put on by the North West branch, I would not have felt so prepared when I was an expert witness for the first time last year. However, my favourite is hearing about women's careers and how they got to the top Рmy favourite speaker will always be our first, Michèle Dix CBE.

Where should people look or go to if they want to become involved?

Visit www.womeninplanning.org. We have 14 branches across the UK, details of which are available on the branch page.

What is your biggest piece of advice for an employer getting started with diversity and inclusion?

Understand your organisation. Each organisation will face its own challenges and have its own successes. It is important you know what these are by analysing the data you hold on your employees and the way you work. Once you have done this, start shouting about the success and start building a strategy to deal with the challenges. It is important to keep trying out different solutions – diversity networks are only likely to work where you have a critical mass of employees. If you're a small company, there are lots of diversity networks, such as Women in Planning, that you can tell your staff about.

What change have you seen since you started your career?

Diversity and inclusion have gained momentum in the built environment. There are so many networks you can get involved with, and so many amazing events. Women in Planning supports these networks and is proud to be a partner of BAME in Property, an ally to Planning Out and a sister to Urbanistas and RE Women. It is too early to see the changes, but am hopeful that in five years that there will be a noticeable difference.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Weather damage insurance claims hit record high

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Vanessa Champion reveals how biophilic design can help you meet your environmental, social and governance goals

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close