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Planning back office

Weekly update - 15 March 2019

The fourth week of our discovery phase and it’s been all about the wider council landscape this week, as well as wrapping up sprint two and heading into sprint three. The discovery has now officially passed the halfway point. Momentum is high and the team are powering through.

Some of the activities covered by the team this week include:

Examining planning systems in other local authorities

Continuing Planning Officer user interviews across the wider council landscape, continuing with Haringey Council and Canterbury City Council. The team are also in contact with Redbridge Council, Lewisham Council, Royal Borough of Greenwich, Oldham Council, Islington Council, South Kesteven District Council and Wycombe District Council.

Conversation with Greater London Authority

A session with the GLA team to explore ideas around data standards, as well as discussion around the London Development Database to understand restraints and opportunities.

Attending and presenting at ALBPO - TS

On Thursday, Boris and Celia attended the ALBPO - TS (All London Borough Planning Officers Society - Technical Support) meeting in Hounslow. 

Image 1 15th March

The team presented our findings to date, engaging with a number of the technical support teams from Ealing, Camden, Hounslow, Brent, Westminster, Walthamstow Forest, Redbridge, and various other councils to help with our user recruitment. Boris and Celia also ran a short session for attendees to note down the pain points of their current planning systems, as well as the things that are currently working well.

Sprint two synthesis session

A session for reflecting and bringing together all of the insights from our second sprint, synthesising these into tangible outcomes.

Image 2 15th March

Meeting at City Hall

A session with the wider landscape of organisations and agencies all striving to make positive impact in the planning space, checking in and aligning thinking.

Image 3 15th March

Holding Show & Tell #2

Holding the project’s sprint two Show & Tell, on the planning floor at Tooley Street, to share progress from across the last two weeks. Shout out to the members from MHCLG and Snook teams who were also able to make it.

Image 4 15th March

Watch a video of Show & Tell #2

The team then spent the rest of the afternoon holding a sprint retrospective and planning sprint three activities.

What’s next?

Next week, the team is planning on:

  • continuing user interviews across UK-wide council planning teams, including with Redbridge Council and others
  • starting to define the business case and succession planning and understanding how this system would be maintained once it goes live
  • anlysing the baseline data and metrics of further council planning applications, including Hackney Council
  • shadowing the end-to-end process of an 8-week planning application, from beginning to end, at Southwark Council
  • defining “jobs to be done” – outlining a new workflow for householder applications aligned with findings from interviews and GLA needs

Keep up-to-date with progress across the project by joining the #southwark_planning channel in the PlanTech Slack workspace and following the #InnovateSouthwark hashtag on Twitter.


Jack, Boris, Celia, Graeme, Martyn, Paul and Wing.

Page last updated: 01 December 2020

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