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Local Authority bulletin - March 2020

Published: Tuesday, 31st March 2020

Next round of online planning application system updates, Call for Papers – Planning Portal Conference 2020 and more stories on our blog.


We are working to ensure that all users can realise the benefits our online products and services provide.

Following preparation work for the new version of the data standard and the application requirements of the Greater London Authority, we are continuing to deliver key improvements and new functions.

Next up is:

  • A wide range of updates across the question sets on our current planning application system to improve compliance with government standards and validity of applications.
  • The rollout of the latest version of our data standard (schema) to all applications types including Prior Approvals.

In response to the challenges issued by bodies looking into the future of planning, and the expected direction of the government’s Accelerated Planning white paper, we are continuing to increase our rate of change.

We want to ensure that all our users are on board for this journey and can work with us to deliver the improvements that the sector requires for it to be fit-for-purpose.

Question set updates

We have reviewed and updated the following question sets for all new planning applications made after the changes are implemented.

Learn more about the changes.

Rollout of the latest version of our data standard

Following the preparatory work done earlier this month, we are planning to make the latest version of our data standard (schema) available to all Local Authorities.

As previously detailed, the new data standard (v2.0) includes significant updates over the previous version (v1.3), allowing it to contain information relating to the:

  • Prior Approval application types;
  • London-specific GLA questions;
  • Updates to the question options (see link above for details).

In order to benefit from the additional and updated information in the new data standard, your ‘1APP connector’ software (that requests and downloads applications from the Planning Portal; and transfers the information into your systems) will need to be able to ask for and process the latest version correctly.

When in discussion with your supplier, you should ensure that they are committed to ensuring that you are able to work with the full range of information from all the application types we provide by requesting and utilising the latest version of our data standard.

If not, you will continue to receive information from us ‘as is’ and manual effort will be required for you to cross reference the PDF application forms we provide against the data that your systems are unable to properly handle.

At present, only around half of Local Authorities in England and Wales request the current version (v1.3) when downloading applications.

When are these changes coming?

We are aiming to launch these changes in May 2020, more exact timings to be confirmed.

We are planning to set aside a week to allow Local Authorities and their ICT suppliers to test the changes once we are happy with them, and a subsequent period to review/respond to/resolve any issues raised. A separate communication regarding this will be issued shortly.

Next steps

We would recommend contacting your ICT supplier to understand when they will be ready for your system to utilise the new version of the schema and allow you to realise the full benefits it offers.

Further communications will be sent as the project implementation progresses although if you have any queries concerning the changes, please contact us at communications@planningportal.co.uk 


Since the introduction of our building control application service in 2016, over 70 per cent of local authorities have signed up to receive building control applications via the Planning Portal.

Much like the process for planning applications, local authorities require their IT supplier to develop integration with the back-office system to allow applications to be retrieved from the Planning Portal. Until recently this has not been possible for local authorities using Idox’s Uniform system.

Over recent weeks we have been assisting them in their development to ensure that they can accept building control applications and supporting documents from the Planning Portal straight into their Uniform system.

This is a significant development which will see those local authorities using Uniform have the ability to digitally streamline how their building control applications are received and processed, increasing efficiency and reducing paper waste and manual intervention.

The connector is now up and running, so if your local authority building control department are interested in having integration, please contact your Idox account manager for further details.

If you use an alternative IT supplier, integration is also available from Ocella, DEF Software and Arcus Global.

If you are not signed up to receive building control applications or you’d like to learn more about increasing online submission, please get in touch with our Business Development Team to find out more.

Contact us

Scott Alford 
Email scott.alford@planningportal.co.uk or call 07771 566973

Ian Foster
Email ian.foster@planningportal.co.uk or call 07785 518797


Save the date! Thursday 19-20 November 2020 at Hilton Birmingham Metropole.

The Planning Portal has launched a call for papers for those interested in contributing to the Planning Portal Conference 2020.

The two-day conference will focus on two key topics; day one will lead with climate change, the impact on planning and building and the actions those in the industry could and are implementing. The second day will focus on technology, both within the private and public sectors, and how technology can help towards achieving the government’s climate change goals.

Topics we are aiming to cover, but not limited to are:

  • Climate change and the built environment
  • Environment bill and biodiversity
  • The role utilities companies can play in climate change
  • Modern methods of construction
  • Delivering homes in ‘Planning for the Future’
  • Technology in Local Authorities
    • Bridging the gap between private and public sector
  • Data transparency in planning
  • Technology in the process
    • Designing
    • Engaging
    • Building
    • Compliance

Please send all papers and enquiries to conference@planningportal.co.uk

Keep up to date on our growing timetable of speakers.