Using digital to offer more choice in what users can track and engage with

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Dorset council worked with DEF Software to pilot an approach to easily tracking planning applications that gave residents and users a choice in the area of interest they monitor when it comes to planning applications, as well as choice in the updates they receive and the format they receive them in.  

By doing this, the pilot aimed to test how much a targeted digital intervention such as this could help shift the user experience of reviewing and commenting on planning applications from an interaction based primarily around making an objection, to something potentially more positive. In addition, the council were able to explore whether this intervention could increase the diversity of groups who engage.

In practical terms this meant developing two components to be added to the council’s online planning register, the first being a map-based search where people could select or draw areas they were interested in. The second intervention was offering a way to sign up for alerts for specific types of new application or update to an application, and to choose the way of being alerted (SMS, email, large-print letter for example).

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