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Planning back office

Weekly Update - 22 March 2019

The fifth week of our eight-week discovery phase has been focusing on the end-to-end planning application process within planning teams, as well as putting plans in place for some co-design activities with Planning Officers to firm up some ideas.

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

Interviewing more Planning Officers

The team managed to secure a number of user interviews with some more Planning Officers in other local authorities. Some of the insights gained this week is the identification that, while there are some digital elements in place, some authorities are still very much heavily-reliant on a paper-based system, with individual cases printed off and manually-handled around the team.

22nd March image 1 unblurred

Shadowing Planning Officers

A couple of members of the team have been shadowing the process at Southwark Council of planning application receipt and validation, as well as the allocation of an individual application to a Planning Officer.

22nd March image 4
22nd March image 3

Jobs to be done / User stories

As well as shadowing Planning Officers, the team have been carefully recording all the stages involved in the planning application process to ensure nothing vital has been missed, and to identify possible workflow improvements. This has resulted in the early beginning of user stories for the Alpha phase.

Fleshing out the business case

Martyn and Jack have been pouring over the numbers, trying to work out how much time and money are spent on processing applications, as well as where the most impact can be made in the process.

Other projects’ data standards

There have been a number of really insightful conversations with the other planning applications projects, including a meeting to go through the emerging data standards of each project, ensuring continuous alignment.

What’s next?

  1. More shadowing to complete the lifecycle of a planning application
  2. Preparation for an upcoming design sprint, both from a practical and a creative side
  3. Further work on fleshing out the present and possible workflow of planning officers
  4. Show & Tell is next Thursday (28/03) at Southwark Council - everybody is welcome to attend

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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