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Local Authority Bulletin - October 2021

Published: Monday, 25th October 2021

Features: Supporting Local Authorities to reduce pressures on planning teams, Local Authority Workshops 2021: The latest updates to the Planning Portal

At the Planning Portal, we work closely with our parent company TerraQuest to provide our delivery partners and account holders with solutions we believe will benefit you. This article outlines the Planning Application Validation Service (PAVS). PAVS works with local authorities to validate planning applications to reduce the time and cost taken to submit, process and approve planning applications while enhancing the applicant’s experience. 

PAVS can assist Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) with sustaining and improving planning performance. Working on a bespoke basis, the PAVS team develop a project most suited to specific requirements; whether it be temporarily adding to the LPA’s resource whilst they undergo recruitment, helping planning departments get up to speed by clearing a backlog of applications, or processing new applications. The service checks against national and local planning policies and directly uploads into the LPA back office system. An application can be received, validated and on a case officer’s worklist within 48 hours. 

TerraQuest’s technicians have experience in validating all types of planning applications and an LPA can choose whether they allocate all applications or a number of specific application types to our skilled validation teams.  

The successful delivery of PAVS creates remarkable flexibility in planning departments; the service is tailored to suit the specific needs of the authority and provides a typical Service Level Agreement of validating applications within 48 hours of receipt. 

"East Devon required assistance on validating planning applications following an increase in planning applications being received and after being impressed with TerraQuest’s proposed approach, we decided to acquire TerraQuest’s PAVS. The PAVS team have provided a more cost-effective and efficient service than any available alternative and it has enabled us to focus on issuing planning decisions." 
Chris Rose, Development Manager, East Devon District Council 

"Dorset initially brought TerraQuest in to assist with a backlog of planning applications on a short-term basis. However, due to the support offered by their technicians and the success and efficiency of the service, we continue to use PAVS for a number of applications in a backlog."
Naomi Macklin, Business Manager for Place, Dorset Council  

"The use of TerraQuest’s PAVS has really supported WHBC through a period of staffing shortages. The technicians are consistently validating applications within the 48-hour SLA which has alleviated additional strain on members of our planning team. Allocating all planning application types to TerraQuest has enabled WHBC officers to focus on other important tasks." 
Catherine Gooding-Williams, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council  

Benefits of using TerraQuest’s Planning Application Validation Services include: 

  • 48-hour Service Level Agreement, with 98 per cent processed within 24 hours 
  • Manage peak workload demand 
  • Consistency in validation decisions 
  • Invalid application resolution 
  • Enable case officers to focus on application evaluation   
  • Improve customer service experience through prompt contact 

For a free consultation, please contact Jonathan Fincher via email: or call 0121 234 1300. 

We’re halfway through our Local Authority Workshops for 2021 and so far they have been a great success with attendees finding the sessions “very informative” and “really useful”. The content of these workshops will provide information on updates to the Planning Portal planning application system and updates to our guidance pages, which will be implemented soon. These events will provide you with a comprehensive walk through of the new service and our plans to introduce it early next year.   

The proposed agenda:  

  • A review of 2020, 2021 and the impact of COVID on the planning industry – what were your experiences and what does the ‘new digital’ look like for your authority?   

  • Regional application submission statistics and trends – the latest insight on activity in your area. 

  • Re-platforming the Planning Portal – what this means for customers and what it means for you and your authority.  

  • Our development road map – what new features and functionality are coming next?  

If you, or your local authority are yet to attend one of these sessions, please feel free to join us on any of the below sessions.  

These remaining sessions will run between: 2 – 4 November 2021 via Teams. 

  • South East – Tuesday, 2 November at 10am   
    Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Surrey and West Sussex. 

  • South West – Tuesday, 2 November at 2pm   
    Bristol, Cornwall (including the Isles of Scilly), Dorset, Devon, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. 

  • London – Wednesday, 3 November at 10am   
    All Greater London Authorities and Development Corporations. 

  • Wales – Thursday, 4 November at 10am   
    All Welsh authorities. 

Spaces are limited to two attendees per authority and ideally, we would like you to attend your regional event. Please register using your Local Authority email address. You will receive an email confirmation and the agenda within two working days of booking your place.  
As part of the registration process, you have the opportunity to ask us a question regarding our development plans – we will aim to cover all questions asked throughout the events.   
Keep up-to-date!  
Don’t forget to join the ‘Planning Portal Local Authority Group’ on the Knowledge Hub.