History of POS

POS was formed on 11 April 1997 by the amalgamation of the former County Planning Officers Society, District Planning Officers Society and Metropolitan Planning Officers Society. The constituent societies decided that a single voice for local authority planners would be the most effective way of pursuing good and effective planning practice within and for local government.

In 2004 POS established a trading company (POS Enterprises) as a vehicle through which POS could operate on a commercial basis, provide support to LPAs and carry forward our objectives. POS Enterprises now provides gift aided income to POS enabling it to undertake many more projects and activities during the year, many of which are free to members. 

POS registered as a limited company in September 2008 and, as required for any company formed in the UK under the Companies Act, it is governed by its Memorandum and Articles of Association. The Memorandum is the document that set up the company and the Articles set out how the company is run, governed and owned. POS became a Registered Charity in March 2011.

The objectives for POS, as set out in the Memorandum of Association and Charity Objectives, are to advance the education of the public in planning law, planning policy and public sector planning practice and related services for the public benefit in particular, but not exclusively, by: 

  • Supporting local and central government fulfil their statutory planning duties
  • Undertaking research and publishing the useful results of such research
  • Providing advice and guidance, information and promoting best practice and high standards in planning and related services
  • Liaising and working with planning professionals, local and central government, the Royal Town Planning Institute and other related professional bodies to maintain and improve standards of planning for the public benefit

POS separately contracts administrative support, website services, communications, policy and financial management.

POS has an impressive track record that includes:

  • Preparation of Manifestos, promoting new ideas and striving towards planning excellence
  • Making submissions to House of Commons enquiries
  • Key members of POS sitting on expert advisory panels
  • Regular meetings with Ministers, Government Officials and the Planning Inspectorate
  • Publication of a range of papers to promote best practice and assist our members
  • Supported Learning Groups, such as those for Local Plans, Area Action Plans, Minerals & Waste Planning and Responding to Climate Change
  • Working across the sector with organisations like the British Property Federation (BPF) to further excellence in planning
  • A growing range of free regional workshops providing focussed sessions on new tools and techniques

POS is recognised by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the Local Government Association, the Planning Inspectorate, Design Council cabe, the Planning Advisory Service, Historic England and others as an organisation dedicated to excellence in public service provision and a key player in taking forward the planning reform agenda. POS increasingly works across the placemaking sector to further excellence in planning, particularly with the BPF. 

On 11 April 2022 POS celebrated its 25th anniversary. We launched our Inaugural Annual Lecture at De Morgan House, 57-58 Russell Square, London. The President, Victoria Geoghegan, welcomed everyone to the event and we heard from our first President, Graeme Bell, about the founding of the Society back in 1997. The main lecture was presented by Paul Barnard (Service Director Strategic Planning and Infrastructure, Plymouth City) who celebrated what local authority planners can achieve. To mark the occasion we produced a 25th Anniversary Timeline that records significant events over the last 25 years on a global scale, from Parliament, in Government and for the Society. We hope you enjoy the trip down Memory Lane. 

Memorandum of Association

Articles of Association

Charity Objectives