West Berkshire Council

Outcome of Expression of Interest: Invited to apply

Around 60% of planning applications submitted to the council are deemed invalid. Not only does this create unnecessary work for officers, it’s frustrating for service users.

The council has a pre-planning advice service, however this only offers help to assess the likelihood of a planning application succeeding, and bar an online form, it’s a manually administered process which is not integrated with the actual planning application process.

There’s an opportunity to re-design the pre-planning advice service around the improvements digital can provide, incorporate a chargeable validation function into the service, and join up the planning application process, so users don’t have to re-submit their application again.

Our discovery phase would deliver

  • Analysis into why so many submitted applications are invalid.
  • Research into the user needs a digital pre-planning advice service should meet.
  • A prototype process for a digital pre-planning advice service, linked with a planning application service.
  • Prototype patterns for the front end of a digital pre-planning advice service.
  • Descriptions of which types of technology would need to be used.

In summary we would like to discover how to transform a manual process for planning applications and advice, to reduce waste, generate additional income, and better meet user need.

  • Digital leadership training (for council leaders, service managers or senior executives)
  • Digital and agile awareness
  • Introduction to user research
  • Agile for teams