Equality, diversity and inclusion

We aim to recruit graduates who are representative of the communities they will serve, which is why equality, diversity and inclusion are important to us.

Potential candidates in logo

Local government represents diverse communities across the country and our goal is to recruit graduates to Pathways to Planning who are representative of the communities they will serve. Regardless of background, anyone with a passion to make a difference in their communities as a planner can apply. We are particularly keen to encourage those who identify as Black, Asian or Minority Ethnic to apply, alongside women, as typically underrepresented groups within planning. 

What have we done about it?

The Pathways to Planning team believes that the best way to recruit a diverse group of graduates is to involve a diverse range of individuals within the design of its recruitment and assessment process. To learn more about how we have been working to build a fair assessment process, please find information below about each stage of the process. 

We strongly encourage applicants who require reasonable adjustments to please complete the relevant section of their application form. A member of our support team will then get in touch to discuss how we can support you in the application process. 

We cannot make retrospective adjustments to your assessments or scoring, so we strongly encourage candidates to get in touch before starting an assessment if we can make any adjustments to support you. Information about candidates is held confidentially and will not impact their application in any way outside of our team making reasonable adjustments. 


To embed diversity in the heart of Pathways to Planning, we’ve designed the core assessment criteria – our competencies – in collaboration with the Young Planners Network and the BAME Planners Network, with a good gender balance between representatives. We have also had input from professionals with disabilities and have encouraged participation from individuals with diverse socio-economic backgrounds.

The finished competencies can be found on our website, with written descriptions for each heading. They are the only assessment tool that we will use in our recruitment process. We will not be using candidates’ work experience, university of study, degree subject or any other measure to influence the application process.  

Situational judgement test

The Young Planners Network, the BAME Planners Network and graduate trainees from the National Graduate Development Programme for local government (NGDP) have contributed examples of their lived experience on the job to form the backbone of our situational judgement questionnaire. These scenarios were mapped on to our competency framework by an occupational psychologist and then tested with a diverse group of graduate volunteers to assess the viability and fairness of each question. We closely analyse the outcomes of the situational judgement test using anonymised equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) data to check for any adverse impact on anyone with a protected characteristic within the assessment.  

The situational judgement test is not timed, but if any candidates require the test in a different format or have an accessibility concern about this assessment, our team are available to offer advise and provide any required alternatives. Email [email protected]

Video interview

Our video interview questions are drafted against our competencies and tested with a diverse group of graduates to ensure they are fair and clear. The interviews are assessed using a framework which has been designed by an occupational psychologist to ensure questions are marked in a fair and equal way regardless of a candidate's background. Video interviews will be marked by professional assessors as audio files only, to help remove unconscious bias from the process. Our team cross-mark some of the video interviews alongside professional assessors to ensure the correct marking standard is used. Before setting the pass/fail score for this assessment, our team will also closely analyse anonymised EDI data to check for any adverse impact against each protected characteristic. 

The video interview is a timed assessment, so we strongly encourage candidates with reasonable adjustments to get in touch with us at the earliest possible opportunity to ensure they are given extra time to complete this assessment. We provide extra time to read the questions, extra time to respond to the questions, and an additional opportunity to re-record your answer for all candidates who require reasonable adjustments. You can declare reasonable adjustments on your application form or email [email protected] at any point prior to the deadline for your interview. Please get in touch before you start the assessment as we will not be able to provide additional time or adapted scoring in retrospect. 

If you have concerns about the accessibility of the video interview, please contact [email protected] and we will arrange an alternative mode of delivery for this assessment based on your requirements. 

Assessment centre

Our assessment centre materials are designed by an external company of occupational psychologists in collaboration with a diverse range of industry experts. The professionals leading this work conducted four reviews of their work with a different diverse group, including a full trial of the exercises with a diverse group of students and assessors. Those consulted included graduate planners working in local councils across England, senior planners in local government, members of the Planning Advisory Service, members of the BAME planners network, BAME assessors, and current university students with a range of protected characteristics.  

We strongly encourage any candidates who have additional requirements to get in touch with our team before their assessment centre date to ensure we provide extra time and support as needed. You can declare reasonable adjustments on your application form or email [email protected] at any point prior to your assessment centre date. Typically we can provide advance access to assessment briefings, extra time to read materials, and extra time to complete exercises, alongside any alternative formats required.  

Please get in touch before the date of your assessment centre as we will not be able to provide additional time or adapted scoring in retrospect. 

For Cohort 1, we have been able to provide coaching to candidates from underrepresented backgrounds in advance of the assessment centre stage. We hope to provide this again for Cohort 2.

Council Interviews 

While councils will be responsible for the structure and format of their interviews, we will provide councils with best practice guidance. Councils will provide feedback on request following the interview process.  We will not automatically pass any information about additional requirements to councils as this is held confidentially within the Pathways to Planning application process. We strongly encourage candidates with additional requirement to share these with councils in advance of their interviews so they can receive appropriate support. Councils are diverse employers who seek to employ graduates as diverse as the communities they serve.  

For Cohort 1, we provided coaching to candidates from underrepresented groups in advance of their council interviews. We hope to continue this offer for Cohort 2.