Project background

Local authorities lack a user-centred solution providing back-office case management, transactional functions and database necessary to efficiently manage a planning service.

Planning services are currently dependent on proprietary solutions that are developing slowly and resistant to interoperability. The market is dominated by just two providers and commercial incentives to support innovation are low.

The practical problems associated with poor quality software create challenges for the effective administration of the national planning system.

The cost of the problem 

  • High cost of change – projects cost >£1m to transition from one provider to another and are lengthy and resource intensive

  • Hackney Council estimates it spends >£250,000 in administration time

  • Connected Places Catapult found that planning authorities in England receive ca. 450,000 planning applications a year. A typical household application takes 4-7 hours to process, yet ca. 50% of these are returned as invalid because they lack the right information. Assuming an average salary of £50,000, ca. £500M is wasted annually across the UK.


A collaborative approach

To begin solving this problem, Southwark Council has partnered multiple local authorities to secure funding via the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) Local Digital Fund to run this as a collaborative project.

See the funding application here.
Our aim: 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).

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

BoPS is a collaborative local authority project, funded by the MHCLG Local Digital Fund and led by Southwark 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

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:

Project contact
Tom Buttrick, Southwark Council


Michelle Isme, Delivery Manager, Unboxed

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