DLUHC Local Digital Fund project

A user-centred Back-office Planning System (BoPS) for local authorities

Back-office Planning System (BoPS) is an open, collaborative local authority project funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) Local Digital Fund, and led by Buckinghamshire Council & Partners.

BoPS is currently undergoing private beta testing using Lawful Development Certificate applications received via RIPA. If you are an applicant or agent who would like to make an application using RIPA, you can
register your interest in participating in testing this new service. 

You can also find out more about both projects on the Gov.UK website.

To find out more about DLUHC Digitial Software Planning programme, please get in touch.

For an idea of where we currently are with the RIPA and BoPS project, please watch our latest show and tell presentation below:

You can also watch a full end to end demo of the application process on RIPA through to the issue of a decision notice on BoPS below:  

Our aim

The project aim is to create a user-centred back-office town planning system that uses accurate, up-to-date records and data to increase efficiency across the planning application process and satisfy the needs of end users (Planning Officers).

This aim is broken down into three objectives:

  1. Develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for assessing lawful development certificates, householder applications, and minor planning applications
  2. Develop Application Programming Interfaces (API) which allow alignment with existing systems and emerging systems including the Reducing Invalid Planning Applications (RIPA) application system
  3. Promote widespread interest and adoption of BoPS by other local planning authorities through continuous engagement and promotion of the product

Project timeline
  • January - March 2019: discovery phase delivered
  • October - December 2019: alpha phase delivered
  • March - August 2020: beta phase 1 delivered (Permitted Development)
  • January to April 2021: beta phase 2 delivered (Lawful Development Certificate MVP)
  • April 2021 - now: private beta Lawful Development Certificate MVP
  • June 2022: proposed launch of public beta Lawful Development Certificate MVP

Project partners

Delivery partner



Project background

Planning departments in local authorities are currently experiencing a sector-wide problem: back-end case management systems aren’t meeting the needs of the Planning Officers using them.

Over the last few years, a number of pain points have emerged from current systems and processes, including:

● 40%+ of applications submitted via Planning Portal arrive incomplete, resulting in lengthier administration processes and higher costs

● Poor and non-responsive user interfaces make it difficult for Planning Officers to succeed in meeting their goals

● Poor data quality and data accessibility is affecting authority strategic considerations and quality of monitoring

● A lack of required integration capabilities across different systems is blocking streamlined processes, increasing administration activity

● Local authorities are reliant on external software providers to update their product roadmaps, which is a lengthy process

The purpose of the BoPS project is to lean in to the experience of Planning Officers, and to develop a new and improved back-office system for validating and assessing planning applications. The outcome of the project is a system built by Planners, for Planners, which can be used alongside existing and emerging systems and which will allow more time dedicated to proper planning and assessment, and less time spent on administration or responding to system issues.

A user-centred Back-office Planning System (BoPS) for local authorities

BoPS is a collaborative local authority project, funded by the DLUHC Local Digital Fund and led by Buckinghamshire Council & Partners.

  1. About the project
  2. Project background
  3. Our approach
  4. User research
  5. Discovery phase
  6. Alpha phase
  7. Beta phase
  8. Weeknotes and sprint notes
  9. Accessibility

If you are part of a local authority team or an interested party and would like to find out more about contributing, collaborating and/or our approach, please get in touch:

Register your interest HERE

Project contact

Kevin Buckthorpe, Buckinghamshire Council

Project partners

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