Develop a digital service to enable users to submit, view and comment on a Planning Application ALPHA

Project details:

Organisation London Borough of Hackney
Department Public realm
Collaboration Level Share Ideas
Budget £100k > £250k
Key Contact Andy Evans
Project contact points
Phase start 23 May 2018
Phase Estimated end 22 May 2019



Hackney Council identified, in consultation with its residents and businesses, that the current planning application process falls short of being a digital service ‘so good, people prefer to use it’.

Research resulting from a digital design sprint validated the need for: - An intuitive and accessible interface to help applicants self-serve and improve submission quality. - Improved process visibility to make it easier for proposals to evolve and amendments to be made during the course of the application. - Significantly improve engagement between applicants, planning departments and the local community, resulting in better quality applications and more effective development management. Problem to be solved - There is insufficient progress tracking resulting in a significant amount of failure demand - Planning Portal hold national policies and without local policy guidance coupled with loose process controls and guidance many applications are arriving incomplete, inaccurate and unstructured data - Poor website usability and use of Planning terminology is making it difficult for the public to easily finding relevant applications and engage in the consultation process - The use of old technology such as pdf’s for viewing applications does not lend itself to helping the public understand the impact of developments. Who the users are and what they need to do


  • Contributed Matthew Cain
  • Watched Marcus Ferbrache
  • Watched Adrian Short
  • Contributed Andy Evans
  • Watched Andy Evans
  • Watched Emma Cleal
  • Contributed Emma Harley
  • Contributed Euan Mills
  • Watched Euan Mills

Status Updates

16 October 2018

  • w/c 8th October 2018 __ Phase Alpha: Sprint 3 (week one) Project A digital service that enables users to submit, view and comment on planning applications with ease. Thanks We had a break last week so we’ve felt refreshed and raring to go this week! Thanks to Steve Fraser-Lim, Ian Rae, Cleo from Plan X and Southwark planning team. Also big thanks to Wing for recruiting 3 users for testing. What we’ve done Planned sprint 3 and set our goals: - Enable proposed site investigation to increase quality of submitted applications - Define logic of details required when applying to make householder changes so that applications are submitted right first time - Understand the optimum journey for users starting an application so that it is a seamless experience Began visually mapping the data for householder planning rather than death by spreadsheet Tested our initial wireframes with users What’s next Build feedback from testing into our next iteration Organise the next round of user tests Progress through our sprint goals Blockers and risks A red risk and blocker continues to be understanding what can be achieved with the current data schema and our ability to write back into M3. Andy from Hactar is working on defining and quantifying this with Northgate, GIS and the planning team >>>Question of the week<<< We’re still in need of volunteers for testing so, same as last week. Do you know anyone who has submitted a planning application in Hackney as a citizen or as a professional (consultant/architect) who might want to join in our testing? If so, let us know ASAP!

10 October 2018

  • Project weeknotes w/c 24 Sept:

10 October 2018