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Local Authority Bulletin - June 2021

Published: Monday, 28th June 2021

Features: Planning Portal are hosting their third annual conference, delivered to you virtually; Planning Portal - Data, not documents

The Planning Portal Annual Conference 2021 will take place virtually on 15 – 18 November 2021, and you can now book tickets to attend.

Working for the Public Sector or a Government Body?

Anyone working in the Public Sector or for a Government Body will be able to access the conference for free. To do so, follow the registration process on the website and select Public Sector/Government Body as your ticket type. Anyone registering for this type of pass, must do so with a gov.uk email address.

Following the success of last year, we are again going to be hosting our conference virtually across four days, but this year it will be even bigger and better!

This year we will be hosting the event on our new conference platform. This new technology allows each delegate to create a personal profile and input their interests and areas of speciality. Using integrated algorithms, the system then works to pair you up with other delegates, speakers, sessions, products and exhibitors that will be of interest to you. 

Four days of short, sharp take-home presentations from sector-leading speakers and panellists will bring together a wide range of delegates from planning and building, including business leaders and influencers, to discuss the most significant topics affecting the industry. These include planning reform and the digitisation of the planning system, biodiversity net gain, carbon zero and community engagement.

With over 1,000 delegates in attendance, the conference will provide all delegates with up to 12 hours of CPD accredited content, while its flexible, virtual nature allows you to co-ordinate it around other work priorities.

Added extra!

We will soon be launching our new Planning Portal Community Hub – the dedicated community for those in planning, building and development. As part of your conference registration you will automatically be added to this community and will receive notification of the platform as soon as it is live!

The Planning Portal’s mission is to transform planning and building. As part of this we are undertaking development to improve our 1APP online application service. To maximise the benefits of the new service, we are working closely with all our clients, strategic partners, and delivery partners to ensure a smooth and efficient transition.

A significant aspect of this is for us to work with Local Authorities to improve the transfer of data and documents from the Planning Portal into their back-office systems. We have many improvements to look forward to in the coming months, but there are two easy steps you can take now to get the most out of the current system and make sure you are ready to take advantage of the improvements when they come.

An overview of our current schema versions is below, though with ongoing changes to planning policy and our new IT platform, we expect the pace of change to increase. We would recommend that you speak to your current IT supplier about keeping up to date, and make sure you include it as a requirement in any tender if you decide to change supplier.

Step 1: Check your 1APP connector is up-to-date

Data from the Planning Portal is delivered to Local Authority back-office systems using the structure defined in our 1APP data standard (also referred to as a ‘schema’).

This allows for all the information entered into our online planning applications to be automatically downloaded and processed by Local Authority IT systems.

When updates are made to the online planning application system that change the information being collected (i.e. when a new application type is added or a legislative change needs to be accounted for), the 1APP data standard is updated in parallel to ensure this information is able to be passed to Local Authorities.

In addition to ‘supporting’ the latest version, the connector needs to ‘request’ the specific version when retrieving applications. Where a specific version is not requested, our system will default to the lowest common version (currently 0.9). We have records of the versions being requested (or not) for each Local Authority, so we can always let you know this key detail.

What happens if these updates do not happen?

If you are not on the latest schema version, you will not be able to retrieve/process some types of applications and/or receive a complete set of data. In these cases, the applications will need to be manually downloaded and processed, and the missing information reconciled against the generated PDF forms we provide.

This could, for example, mean you are not automatically receiving all Prior Approval applications, or even those for Non-Material Amendments.

Step 2: Check the connector is processing all the available data

Regardless of which version your connector is requesting and using, you may find that it is not set up to process all of the data correctly.

What happens if it is not utilising all the information?

Regular feedback from Local Authorities shows that too much time and resource is spent on consolidating and indexing documents, or that they are not able to see all the information in the application. This does not need to be the case. 

Please review our technical guidance note and if necessary, speak to your IT supplier about the connector configuration. If you need support from us, please contact our Support Desk by emailing support@planningportal.co.uk.

Schema versions

Schema table