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I am Ransford Stewart (BA, MRTPI, MCMI, MBE), Director of Stewart Management and Planning Solutions. Last month, I had the pleasure of representing the BAME Planners Network at the UK Real Estate and Infrastructure Investment Festival (UKREIFF) in Leeds. The event is a fantastic opportunity to engage with fellow professionals, planning industry leaders, and those interested in Planning and EDI matters. It was also wonderful to catch up with Network colleagues, some of whom I was meeting in person for the first time.

Highlights from the Event

One of the highlights was being invited to speak on a panel about supply chain diversity. Expertly led by Samer Bagaeen and supported by Sara Dilmamode, both Network members, we discuss issues affecting participation in public sector procurement for SMEs and minority-owned businesses. As most practices led by Network members are SMEs, public sector contracts represent a key growth opportunity for these firms. The uniform recognition of the benefits of supply chain diversity is encouraging, as is the support for system change and positive engagement with SMEs, enabling them to better compete for public sector contracts.

Supporting Planners Under Pressure

Another important topic discussed is the support for planners, especially those in the public sector who are under incredible pressure at the moment. I left the festival buzzing with ideas about resilient communities, infrastructure planning and delivery, and supply chain diversity for shared prosperity. The festival provides a wealth of inspiration and insights, sparking numerous ideas for future projects and initiatives.

Looking Forward to Next Year

All in all, it was a great three days, although I could have done with another day to catch up properly with all the former colleagues in attendance. Maybe next year, I will get that extra day to connect more deeply with everyone. The UKREIFF continues to be a vital event for our industry, fostering connections and promoting important discussions about the future of planning and infrastructure. Stewart Management and Planning Solutions is dedicated to advancing diversity in planning and infrastructure and we look forward to continuing our work with the BAME Planners Network and other industry leaders.


BAME Planners NetworkUKREIFF


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