The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has launched three digital services to help local authorities with planning applications.
The new services include ‘Find out if you need planning permission’, ‘Apply for a Lawful Development Certificate’, and ‘Back Office Planning System’ (BOPS). They have been co-designed by Buckinghamshire, Lambeth and Southwark Councils and are available through the local authorities' websites.
The first two services are aimed at residents and professionals that want to know which permitted development rights exist on a property, and to submit proposals where planning permission is unlikely to be needed.
BOPS is an open and collaborative local authority project that helps validating and processing Lawful Development Certificate applications received by councils. Although it is primarily a service aimed at local authority officers, it also enables communication between planning officers and applicants.
The launch of the three digital services is part of DLUHC’s work to modernise the planning system in England. They have been designed to be user-centric and intuitive using feedback from users and residents, planning agents and council officers.
According to DLUHC Digital, the blog used by DLUHC to share its developments in digital services, bother user testers and key stakeholders within the three councils where these services are now live “have been very positive” about them.
Christine Urry, Head of Planning and Development at Buckinghamshire Council, said that they “have been really impressed with the new Find Out If You Need Planning Permission Service” and that “it is clear that it is going to become an important tool within the planning service going forward.”
Cristina Lago is the Managing Editor at Government Transformation magazine, overseeing the editorial coverage of transformation programmes across the UK public sector. Cristina has been covering digital government, GovTech and the wider enterprise technology sector for a number of years, and was previously Editor of CIO UK, and Associate Editor of Tech Monitor. She was awarded first class honours in Hebrew and Israeli studies by the School of Oriental & African Studies, University of London.