Our Financial Transaction Service will process all planning application fee payments on behalf of Local Authorities providing certainty and consistency to both sides of the transaction.
The service will be introduced on Monday 10 September 2018.
Local Authorities will only receive planning applications when either no fee is due or the application fee payment has been confirmed (regardless of payment method).
This alters the focus of the submission process to ensure that applicants and agents pay fees promptly in order for their applications to be submitted.
It also means that upon receipt of a planning application from Planning Portal, Local Authorities can be confident in beginning their validation process, knowing that the application fee has been paid and the funds are on their way to them.
By processing the application fee transaction, we also absorb any associated costs in the process (e.g. credit card payment fees), ensuring that 100% of the planning application fee is passed to the Local Authority and that valuable staff resources are not spent on reconciliation of cheque payments or other such processes.
Applicants and agents also benefit by having an improved standard range of payment options, with the same methods and details used for every planning application made via the Planning Portal, regardless of which Local Authority they are applying to.
Our service that allows users to nominate someone else to pay the planning application fee will continue as-is as part of the Financial Transaction Service.
The only key difference is that it will be available for every application, and it will not attract a specific charge.
We foresee that this will encourage use of the service and, in parallel with the switch to having fee payment confirmed prior to application submission, facilitate prompt payment.
'Offline' payment methods
There will always be some payments that cannot be made online. Rather than placing the burden on Local Authorities to process and reconcile such payments, we will:
- Provide a 24/7/365 telephone payment service to support ‘anytime’ submission of applications.
- Provide facilities to allow application fees to be paid by bank transfer or cheque.
Rather than there being a different point of contact for each type of payment to each Local Authority, our services will provide consistent details for every payment.
We will also wait for payments by bank transfer and cheque to be confirmed before allowing the application to be submitted, encouraging prompt payment, and removing the need for application processing to be put on hold whilst waiting for such payments to arrive and be processed.
Passing the fees to Local Authorities
We will transfer funds to Local Authority bank accounts on a daily basis and provide remittance advice to ensure that you can easily match up payment amounts against the applications you have received.
As dictated by legislation, all refunds must be issued directly by the party that received payment, to the payee via the same payment method.
We will therefore manage the process of issuing refunds based on confirmation from the Local Authority that one is due.
Requests for a refund to be issued can be raised via our service desk.
If funds have already been passed to the Local Authority from us, then the refund to us will also be handled as part the request.
Our service charge
All applications submitted through the Planning Portal and which require a planning fee to be paid will use our Financial Transaction Service as soon as it is launched. The charge for the service is £16.67 (+ VAT)
The income from the service charge will be retained by the Planning Portal to cover the costs of delivering the finance transaction service and additionally help sustain the Planning Portal’s entire suite of content and services, including 1App, ensuring that the benefits we provide to Local Authorities continue and grow.
This concept of adding value, and not just an arbitrary charge, is a key tenet of our business model.
As part of this, we are committed to a roadmap of improvements that will:
- keep our services current and compliant
- allow an increasing range of consent types to be applied for online
- enhance all aspects of the process, from collaborative working and professional functions to supporting documentation and management of local level requirements
- increase the quality of our data outputs for Local Authorities, sector professionals and applicants
Find out more
You can find further information in our FAQs which we will continue to update if new questions arise.
For anything which is not covered please contact our Support Team on 0333 323 4589 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.