Improving Local Authority Building Control Services


  1. Project timeline

This project will look into developing and streamlining specialised building control software, so that a quicker, more cost-efficient service can be delivered to householders, tradespeople and developers. 

Led by the London Borough of Lambeth, this project will aim to produce an options report. This will inform the next step – whether it’s developing front-end improvements for customer experience, a back-office system, or a third option to comprehensively cover both customer and officer needs.

Project timeline

March 2023

The project is awarded £100,000 in funding through Round 6 of the Local Digital Fund to begin a discovery phase.

April 2023

To begin their project, the team attended Local Digital’s Round 6 welcome event where they:

  • drafted an agile road plan
  • agreed on project roles
  • set up and offered agile training to all key people involved

They’ve also drafted their initial user research procurement requirements. They’re likely to be using Sparks as a framework as the digital marketplace is not currently accepting new applications but this is to be confirmed.

For enquiries, they’ve set up a bespoke digital email address:

May 2023

The project team joined a meeting with the Local Digital team on Monday 5 June to discuss various roles such as a user researcher and a content designer. This meeting also helped their pre-planning phase for the project kick-off.

Next week, three members of the team will be attending a three-day Agile for Teams course.

June 2023

The Lambeth team recently participated in a 3-day workshop on Agile in Teams. They have been planning the structure for their project and deciding which exercises and workshops to begin with.

In the next sprint, they will be meeting with an internal service designer to discuss the most effective facilitation approach for the project kick-off.

July 2023

The project team has officially kicked off the discovery and gathered in-person at Bracknell Forest’s offices. They aligned their vision for what an improved and modern Building Control service would look like and identified key stakeholders. The team began creating an as-is service map to identify pain points and will present it at each partners’ offices.

Planning for the first Show and Tell session is underway, which is set to take place during the project meeting on Tuesday 11 July. This will be the first meeting for product owners.

In the upcoming sprint, Lambeth’s project team will be interviewing Building Control officers to understand their use and opinions of existing back office systems. The findings from these interviews will be combined with the process map to identify areas for improvement.

They are finalising arrangements for the next in-person meeting, set to be held at the offices of Bath and North East Somerset in July.

In the next sprint, they are hoping to appoint a user researcher and hold a workshop meeting with project partners and the wider Bath and North East Somerset Building Control team. During the workshop they will be analysing the insights from discussions with Building Control Officers and the Technical team.

August 2023

The team were pleased with the response to their procurement for user researchers, and have now held workshop-based interviews with seven of the user researchers that tendered. The decision will shortly be finalised, an offer made and the start date confirmed.

On 3 August, the whole project team came together for a workshop at the offices of Bath and North East Somerset. During the energetic session, Lambeth’s team provided insights from ongoing research with council officers. The group also debated evaluation metrics for the project and worked through a detailed assumptions mapping exercise with Lambeth’s in-house service designer.

They have also explored how to record gathered insights systematically for future workshops. An introductory meeting will brief their new user researcher, followed by a workshop at Lambeth offices on 11 September.

September 2023

The Lambeth project team have been focussed on procurement paperwork for their new User Research, including contract preparations.

They continued their data analysis, reviewing information from their all-project meeting in Keynsham and individual discussions with Lambeth officers. Data from partners at Bath and North East Somerset Council has been shared and the team plans to examine this for valuable insights.

The team made progress in planning for an in-person workshop at the Lambeth offices in Brixton, marking the completion of their first round of visits to partner offices. They also had a productive catch-up session with the Local Digital team to discuss progress and challenges.

The Lambeth project team welcomed their new user researcher, Aspasia, and took steps to introduce her to the team. With Aspasia leading user interviews and surveys planned, the team is preparing to analyse the valuable insights they are gathering. They want to engage a broad audience to gather data that will inform their metrics and evaluation.

In addition, the team are working on a service map for Building Control. They’re preparing to share updates through social media and internal channels while getting ready for an upcoming Show and Tell session to keep stakeholders informed.

October 2023

The Lambeth project team held their third workshop this sprint, bringing together all three partner teams at Lambeth’s offices. They were delighted to have Tom from Local Digital present to show his support. During the workshop, they discussed potential survey questions, one for users and another for Local Authority Building Control services across the UK.

They’ll be analysing the most popular and metrically valuable questions for these surveys and then sending them out. The goal is to use Local Digital’s network to reach Building Control officers nationwide and gather insights from other local authorities.

Additionally, the team introduced their User Researcher, Aspasia of Marvell Consulting, to the wider team. Aspasia led a stakeholder engagement session to identify potential participants for user research sessions. They brainstormed the types of questions to ask during these sessions and reviewed the two Trello boards currently in use.

In the next sprint, the team is preparing for user research sessions and observations. They’ll focus on their Delivery Trello board, work with their User Researcher to define the scope of works statement, plan for the upcoming workshop on the 13 October, and aim to finalise the survey.