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Planning back office

Weekly Update - 29 March 2019

As sprint three came to a close yesterday, the team has now accelerated into sprint four, the final fortnight of our eight-week discovery phase.

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

Further research with Planning Officers

Continuing research interviews with some more Planning Officers across further local authorities.

29th March Image 1

Shadowing the process for a “typical” planning application

Working with the Southwark Council team to shadow the process of an eight-week planning application, from validating the application and allocating a case, through to writing a report.

“Jobs To Be Done” analysis

A session to identify the key jobs and steps within the administration process (e.g.  ‘Receive Application’, ‘Validate Application’, ‘Allocate Case Officer’, etc.), as well as the different contexts in which these jobs sit within.

29th March Image 2

Data standards / data input

To understand the types of data required across different systems and types of planning applications, the team applied for a “typical” planning project, then compared data inputs across the different application methods, including Hackney Council’s Submit My Planning Application, Planning Portal and PlanX.

Business case

Further work in defining the business case for this back-office planning application system.

Sprint three synthesis session

Wednesday’s team session for bringing together insights from across sprint three, in preparation for Thursday’s Show & Tell.

29th March Image 3

Identifying five opportunity areas:

How might we…

  • … apply quicker processing of clear-cut applications?
  • … reduce "unnecessary" manual administrative processing (eg validation)?
  • … increase confidence in recommendations to reduce checking and sign off (eg system with better guidance for junior officers)?
  • … create a collaborative 3D workflow?
  • … make the status of applications more visible to applicants and increase dialogue?

Holding Show & Tell #3

Holding the project’s sprint three Show & Tell, on the planning floor at Tooley Street, for sharing progress form across the last two weeks. Thanks to some of the team at Open System Lab who were also able to come along.

29th March Image 4

Watch a video of Show & Tell #3.

Holding a co-design session with Planning Officers

Friday morning’s co-design session with a number of Planning Officers at Southwark Council to begin getting possible ideas down onto paper, based on insights to date.

29th March Image 5

What’s next?

Next week, the team is planning on:

  • continuing further co-design sessions
  • taking our concepts on the road to put in front of Planning Officers at Hackney Council, Lambeth Council, Tower Hamlets Council and Huntingdonshire District Council for feedback, as well as further user interviews

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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