Local Authority Bulletins
Local Authority Roadshow 2022
Throughout September and October, the Planning Portal team hosted four face-to-face events and two virtual events, with a combined total of almost 200 attendees.
Across all events we had fantastic interactions and in-depth discussions, and the participants came away with a wealth of ideas and actions to implement in their Local Authorities.
What we talked about
We spoke about how we can make applicant user journeys better and improve validation rates.
We focussed on making sure links from Local Authority websites to the Planning Portal are up to date, correct validation lists are published (linked) and local mandatory documents are set up, as well as making sure that websites have consistent and direct messaging to our services.
With the increase of online applications, how can we work to reduce email submission, which is time consuming, error-prone and creates more work for teams?
We received one example of an email-application related problem from a Local Authority which had an email application go into their quarantine server. The application was there for four weeks until the agent chased it up and subsequently bought it to the LPA’s attention.
For a streamlined process behind the scenes, we have always encouraged Local Authorities not to accept emailed planning applications. We looked at the success seen at some Local Authorities that have turned off email applications - those Local authorities have reported saving an average of 20 mins on the processing of a householder application (indexing, registering, redacting) and increasing online application rates from 75% to 96% in three months.
This improvement was achieved by working together using internal training and forums, agent forums and talking to those agents who submit via email and paper.
Keeping up to date with the latest schema version
In order to receive all the planning application types through to LPA back-office systems successfully, including new plan types and indexing, Local Authorities need to be on the latest version of our schema.
We know this isn’t always the case which means Local Authority planning teams may not be getting all the benefits of our latest version and are therefore missing out on efficiency that they should be realising.
What do Local Authorities want to see?
This question sparked great conversations about amendments, pre-app, spatial planning and more.
We have taken all feedback from local authorities and are currently talking to our teams about future improvements.
We will be in touch with local authorities to help shape our future changes.
What’s to come?
Notable changes coming up soon are improvements to the supporting documents function and the introduction of configurable text boxes.
Another huge update in the pipeline is the re-platforming of our building control service to integrate it with our current planning application service, including the option for stand-alone payment.
We would appreciate your input on the following:
- Pre-apps – a national standard pre-application service. We want your thoughts on what would be needed in order for us to provide such a service. To help us with the discovery phase of this project, get in touch at email@example.com.
- Future roadmap in 2023 – get in touch with us as firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to get involved with what’s coming up!
How should we engage with Local Authorities?
Should we be engaging with our stakeholders online, or face-to-face?
The in-person LPA events saw much better interactions between ourselves and LPAs and gave us the chance for more in-depth conversations overall.
We also appreciate the chance to network with you over coffee and lunch and consider this to be vitally important in helping us to build fruitful connections.
However, we understand that modern working life comes with all sorts of time constrains and there isn’t always time for in-person catch ups. We’d like to hear what kind of engagement you would prefer.
You shape the direction, features and functions of the Planning Portal but we can’t implement your voice if we don’t receive your feedback. Let us know what approach works best for you – get in touch at email@example.com today.