The Planning for the Future White Paper set out the need for greater digitisation to improve the way the planning system works and is experienced. A cornerstone of this will be modern planning software, underpinned by data not documents.

The Development Management Software Pathfinders will support Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to work with their existing providers of development management software to gather insights that can be used by other LPAs, DLUHC and planning-related software providers to support the improvement of development software across the market.

Basic information

Body/bodies responsible for consultation

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities


The deadline for submission of Expressions of Interest is Friday 26 November 2021 at 5.00pm.


Projects are expected to kick-off in mid-January and run over 12 weeks, concluding in early April.

Question and Answer session

There will be a Q&A session for local authorities on 15 November 2021 at 11:30am – 12:00pm. Please register by 4pm on 12 November if you wish to attend. Register for the DM Software Pathfinder Q&A session.

Contact details

Please contact us with any queries at

How to Apply

Once you’re ready to apply, complete the application form and email it to, with the subject line ‘Application to DM Software Pathfinder EOI’.

Application requirements

Applicants will be required to complete an application form.

This EOI is only open to Local Planning Authorities in England.


  • 9 November 2021 – Expressions of Interest open
  • 15 November 2021 – Virtual Q&A session
  • 26 November 2021 – Expressions of Interest close at 5:00pm
  • w/c 10 January 2022 – Minister announces successful projects
  • Mid January 2022 – Projects kick off
  • Early April 2022 – Projects conclude: wrap up event


Councils can apply for up to £150,000 each. DLUHC hopes to fund at least 10 councils in total.

Successful councils will work collaboratively with their existing software providers to address challenges in one of three thematic areas:

1. Making better use of planning application data.

For example, by moving from image (PDF/JPG etc) based location plans to using GeoJson

A user story for this might be:
As a planning officer,
I want to receive location plans as data that I can import into our GIS system,
so that I save time not having to manually re-draw the image of the location plan.

We encourage applicants to propose other ideas under this theme using the user story format.

2. Improving publication of planning data

For example, by automating or improving the production of reports (e.g PS1 and PS2), or integrations with data publication platforms.

User stories for this might be:
As a Local Planning Authority,
we want to improve access to planning data we already have in our case management system,
so that we can automate aspects of our reporting.

We encourage applicants to propose other ideas under this theme using the user story format.

3. Increase sharing of reusable components or practices

For example, many councils develop bespoke components, integrations, workflows and reports in their software packages which could be shared with other LPAs using the same product.

A user story for this might be:
As a council officer who has developed something that saved us time or made the customer experience better,
I want to document, share and get feedback on it,
so that other people who use the same software package can reuse it.

We encourage applicants to propose other ideas under this theme using the user story format.

Expectations of successful councils

LPAs and their service providers will be expected to:

  • hold a kick off meeting with DLUHC officials and work collaboratively together and with DLUHC throughout the funding phase
  • define a shared vision and goal for the project
  • hold monthly Show and Tells to summarise and share progress with other councils
  • contribute to written progress updates, such as blog posts
  • create a written report at the end of the project summarising the outcomes, learnings and opportunities
  • share assets, resources and other relevant project documentation and outputs openly

Assessment Criteria

Responses in the application form will be assessed against the following criteria:

  1. Overview of the Problem
    The problem should be applicable to multiple authorities who use the same software package. The problem should also be appropriate in relation to the phase of the project, the time available, identified risks and any other related work in the sector. The defined problem should demonstrate an understanding of how the current market, tools and products are addressing user needs in the context of your project.
  2. Focus on and involvement of users
    The project should be solving a problem for a user. Demonstrate the potential for, or evidence of, improvements for service users and/or operators’ experience of the service, through evidence of user research and testing.
  3. The right team and approach
    The proposed team should have the right skills and experience appropriate to the phase of the project. They should also consider governance and how they will ensure engagement from senior stakeholders and subject matter experts.
  4. The Plan
    The project should have an appropriate plan in place for the project, taking into consideration the agile principles and work in any previous phases of the project. This should cover the methodology and resources, both financial and human, providing a clear breakdown of how the funding from DLUHC and other contributions will be spent.
  5. Sharing learnings/outputs
    The project should have a plan for how they will share progress, learnings and products with stakeholders and the sector to help build wider engagement and understanding, to determine the likelihood of wider adoption and scalability of the proposed solutions. Consideration should also be given to how the learnings and products can be reused and contributed to by others beyond the end of the project.
  6. Impact/Expected Outcomes
    A summary of the intended impact of this work, and how it will contribute to quantifiable benefits. This should include an approach to measuring the benefits of the proposed project or intervention.

Apply to the Development Management Software Pathfinder EOI