More skilled planning professionals will be recruited by councils following a £1 million funding boost from the government, the Housing Minister has announced.

Social enterprise Public Practice will use the money to help councils recruit and develop skilled planners, increase awareness about careers in local government and share best practice around improving communities in the public sector.

The money will help councils attract and develop those in the profession, leading to higher skilled jobs, speed up property development and create better neighbourhoods that people are proud to call home.

Minister for housing and planning, Rachel Maclean, said: “Planning plays such an important role in shaping our neighbourhoods, making sure we have the right housing and infrastructure to level up the nation.

“It is essential that our planning authorities have the skills and resources they need and today’s funding will make sure the sector is better equipped to deliver a quality service for local communities.”

Pooja Agrawal, CEO of Public Practice said: “Planning and placemaking is one of local government’s most important functions as it shapes the places we all live in, work and visit.

“However, it is clear that local authorities have substantial skills gaps which hinders the ability of developers and councils to deliver good quality new and refurbished homes, sustainable public spaces or accessible town centres and high streets.

“We are grateful to the Department of Levelling Up for this funding. We have a proud track record of bringing private sector planning and placemaking talent into local authorities and helping them to forge long-term careers in the public sector.

“Now is not the time to rest on our laurels but to re-double our efforts. We have a mission to help every council in England to find the skilled planners and place professionals they need to make communities and neighbourhoods better across our nation.”

Public Practice has attracted more than 2,500 applications to its placement programme over the past five years – 92% of whom have been working outside the public sector. Some 73% of applicants have never worked in the public sector and 53% have never previously applied for a job in the public sector.

Nine-tenths of Public Practice associates have chosen to continue working in the public sector following the conclusion of the year-long programme. The not-for-profit social enterprise has a mission to rebuild skills and capacity in the public sector to help improve places and communities across England.