PropTech Engagement Fund: Round 2 Expression of Interest Guidance


Our vision is to increase the use of digital engagement within the planning process. This will help make the planning system more accountable and democratic, and offer alternative routes to engage alongside traditional forms of engagement.

The DLUHC PropTech Engagement Fund supports the widespread adoption of digital citizen engagement tools and services. The funded projects will enable us to better understand the barriers to be overcome to allow councils to adopt these tools at scale.


Round 2 of the PropTech Engagement Fund will support projects that demonstrate how to incentivise communities to positively engage in planning conversations through guidance on the trade-offs and wider benefits of development.

Up to 10 projects will be selected for funding in Round 2. We welcome both individual and joint applications from LPAs:

  • Individual LPAs can apply for up to £125,000
  • Joint LPA projects can apply for up to £300,000

Selected projects will aim to demonstrate how digital citizen engagement can:

  • incentivise communities to positively engage in planning conversations
  • engage a more representative range of citizens in decision-making
  • inform community on trade-offs and outcomes through development
  • establish meaningful baseline data and, where possible, integrate digital and traditional engagement best practice

We encourage applications that focus on how more inclusive community feedback can, and has, been used to inform the design and delivery process, to enable a culture of co-design and increase public interest and participation.

Each of the funded projects will procure and implement a digital engagement tool or service. We expect that local authorities will purchase and adopt existing products in the marketplace rather than develop new custom solutions, in order to reduce delivery time and costs required. However, where appropriate, digital enhancements may be included to optimise existing platforms.


Local authorities will be able to apply to deliver a digital engagement project addressing one of the five following themes:

Theme 1: Masterplanning

Masterplanning provides a unique opportunity to fast-track delivery of large scale regeneration projects, often in opportunistic growth areas that deliver compounding economic and social development outcomes. However, it is often challenging for local authorities to undertake effective consultation given the scale and distance between community groups and projects, especially in rural areas.

Local authorities addressing Theme 1 will leverage digital solutions to proactively engage with communities to inform masterplanning, and to connect with online audiences that are not restricted in participation by traditional physical boundaries.

This could include:

  • using digital platforms to identify community priorities and aspirations for housing
  • help communities understand the trade-offs involved in wider regeneration
  • develop interim place-making and activation plans, and
  • leverage local advocacy and pride of place to inform their delivery strategies.

Theme 2: Council-Led Development

Adopting digital solutions can help LPAs engage with a broader online audience, including hard-to-reach demographics and people who may not have traditionally engaged in consultations.

Local authorities addressing Theme 2 will adopt existing platforms which can engage with a diverse range of citizens to shape housing delivery strategies and help identify wider community outcomes. These projects could include individual or portfolio sites, and include projects where local authorities are working in a joint venture with delivery partners.

Theme 3: Estate Regeneration

Estate regeneration is an important mechanism to maximise the highest and best use of housing estates by delivering new homes, and improving housing quality and wellbeing for residents.

Local authorities addressing Theme 3 will leverage digital solutions to make community involvement more accessible and engaging at different stages of Estate Regeneration.

This could include:

  • using digital platforms to connect with broader community members (existing and future).
  • discussing the trade-offs inherent in development and building advocacy and support through more proactive engagement strategies.

Theme 4: Community Development

Greater transparency and outreach can help local authorities to align community priorities and funding opportunities.

Local authorities addressing Theme 4 will adopt digital solutions that help increase transparency in how community funding and infrastructure can be allocated, to raise awareness of the benefits of regeneration and enable wider public participation in designing local areas. This theme could include projects which create more transparency around allocation of S106, developer contributions and/or other local funding restoring pride in communities and places.

Theme 5: Wildcard

There are a number of emerging opportunities where digital citizen engagement tools can be adopted across development and regeneration areas to support existing and future communities.

Local authorities addressing Theme 5 are invited to submit an ‘out of the box’ proposal that demonstrates how digital platforms could be used to involve communities during the planning process, outside of the proposed options within Themes 1-4.

This could include (but not be limited to) projects that are focused on regenerating high streets, designing social infrastructure, or delivering new or improved public transport systems.

By adopting digital engagement tools, local authorities should be able to proactively connect with more diverse members of the community to inform the delivery of strategic projects and priorities.

It would also be interesting if local authorities used digital tools to explore community sentiment towards urban development and change, and how more proactive engagement focused on co-design and community outcomes may increase participation and meaningful feedback.

Geographical scope

We will aim to work with local authorities spread across a range of locations and representative of different contexts in England, including Urban, Rural, Two-tier, Unitary and Joint Plan areas.

Key information

Department responsible for Expression of Interest guidance

Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC)


The Expression of Interest will be open for 6 weeks from 15 December 2021 to 25 January 2022.


The deadline for submission of Expressions of Interest is 11:59pm on Tuesday 25 January 2022.

Online events

We will be hosting two online sessions during the application period:

  1. Launch event on Friday 17 December 2021. LPAs and the wider industry (including digital suppliers and planning consultants) are welcome to register for the launch event.
  2. Q&A session on Wednesday 12 January 2022. Register for the Q&A session.


Contact details

Please contact us with any queries at

How to respond

When you’re ready to apply, complete the application form and email it to by 11:59pm on 25 January 2022. Please use the subject line ‘Application to PropTech Engagement Fund Round 2’.

These files may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. To request an accessible format, please email

Invitation for Expressions of Interest

The programme intends to fund up to 10 projects that address one of the following five themes:

  • Theme 1: Masterplanning
  • Theme 2: Council-Led Development
  • Theme 3: Estate Regeneration
  • Theme 4: Community Development
  • Theme 5: Wildcard


Funding Allocations

  • Individual Application – One Local Authority (Up to £125,000)
  • Joint Application – Multiple Local Authorities (Up to £300,000)

Where LPAs are applying jointly, funding will be sent to the lead authority to distribute across the councils involved.

We will be seeking a mix of proposals from across different locations and contexts. We expect to select LPAs from across England with different spatial contexts, demographics, and digital and consultation resources.

Funding elements

We expect that the funding provided will include but may not be limited to:

  • Adopting and implementing off-the-shelf digital engagement products. This may also include a budget for digital outreach strategies such as using social media and online platforms to engage different audiences.
  • Delivering integration into local authorities’ existing IT and systems infrastructure.
  • Enabling LPA staff time to resource each pilot, including project engagement and collaboration with PropTech Round 2 partners and DLUHC stakeholders. This may also include time for in-person consultations (to establish baseline data) and time to analyse and report back on community comments to establish feedback loops.


DLUHC support

DLUHC will work with all funded pilots, carrying out user research to gather insights to help inform internal policy development and to develop national guidance for digital engagement.

Additional support will be provided to LPAs at the beginning of the projects to help Commercial teams through the procurement process. We would encourage use of either G-Cloud or Spark DPS in order to be able to access a range of digital engagement suppliers, but any compliant route is accepted.

Application & Assessment Criteria

Please complete the application form, keeping to the maximum word limits specified.

Assessment criteria and weighting

  • Project overview – 30%
  • Project plan – 20%
  • Project team – 10%
  • Working with suppliers – 20%
  • Budget – 10%
  • Spatial context – 10%


PropTech Engagement Fund programme outputs and timescale

LPAs will be expected to:

  • hold an introductory meeting with DLUHC officials, establishing what baseline data we can compare the pilot outcomes to.
  • hold a kickoff meeting with external suppliers that will form a part of the project team, in which DLUHC officials will be in attendance.
  • hold monthly Show and Tells to provide progress updates, share any challenges and showcase work that has taken place. A monthly user research check-in will run on an alternating schedule so that every 2 weeks is either a Show and Tell or a user research check-in to feed in learnings or surface any issues. There will be opportunities to engage further if you have more you want to discuss or share.
  • create a short written report at the end of the project summarising the outcomes, learnings, hurdles and what could be improved in the future (for example, policy, guidance, or engagement approaches). A list of topics and metrics will be provided to guide the report. It is up to the local planning authority if they would like to have this written by the supplier with input from the project team.
  • where appropriate, work with DLUHC and wider stakeholders to promote and share learnings from Round 2 and establish best practice.


Key milestones

  • Interim milestone (by 30 April 2022) – LPAs have all concluded procurement and held kick-off meetings with suppliers.
  • Final milestone (by 30 September 2022) – End of project reports submitted and feedback session with all LPAs.


15 December 2021

Expression of Interest launches

17 December 2021

Expression of Interest launch event with councils

12 January 2022

Expression of Interest Q&A session

25 January 2022

Submissions due by 11:59pm

26 January - 10 February 2022

Selection process

11-24 February 2022

Internal approvals and LPAs are notified

w/c 28 February 2022

Public announcement and grant payment

March-April 2022

LPA procurement process to appoint suppliers

30 April 2022

Interim milestone of LPAs all having held kick-off meetings with suppliers

1 September 2022

Review findings and community feedback

30 September 2022

Final reporting and discussion