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.

Local Planning Authorities are invited to submit an Expression of Interest to join the RIPA/BOPS project team to design and implement new development management software.

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.


The funding provided through this EOI is to cover the contributions of successful councils up to the end of March 2023.

Question and Answer session

There will be a Q&A session for local authorities on 15 November 2021 at 10:00am – 11:00am. Please register by 4pm on 12 November if you wish to attend. Register for the RIPA/BOPS EOI 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 RIPA/BOPS 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 applicants
Mid-January 2022 – Onboarding begins


Councils can apply for up to £400,000. DLUHC hopes to fund at least 5 councils in total. We expect up to £300,000 to be used to backfill the cost of council staff who join the project team, and up to £100,000 for identified integration and migration costs.

Successful councils will join the project team to develop and implement both the RIPA and BOPS products concurrently. The existing project partners are: Buckinghamshire, Lambeth and Southwark Councils.

Local Planning Authorities adopting RIPA/BOPS should be able to work towards the Adoption Commitments, and must read these before applying.

RIPA (Reducing Invalid Planning Applications) and BOPS (Back-Office Planning System) are software products that enhance and simplify the act of making and processing a planning application for applicants and council staff alike.

Expectations of successful councils

LPAs will be expected to:

  • join with other LPAs in the project team to develop the RIPA and BOPS projects into software products capable of processing full householder applications
  • work towards the RIPA/BOPS Adoption Commitments, with the support of project partners and DLUHC
  • hold a kick off meeting with DLUHC officials and work collaboratively with DLUHC and all other project partners throughout
  • sign up to and follow the principles of the Local Digital Declaration
  • commit staff time to all relevant RIPA/BOPS team meetings and agile ceremonies
  • nominate a representative to attend all required project meetings
  • take part in occasional external communication activities, such as Show and Tells and blog post writing
  • create a short written report at the end of the project summarising the outcomes, learnings and opportunities

Assessment Criteria

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

  1. A commitment to digital planning
    Applicants should provide evidence of their organisation’s commitment to transforming their planning services and give a clear explanation of how they see digital technologies and practices supporting this change. The responses should cover relevant work already underway, initiatives that have taken place, strategies that have been defined and budgets that have been allocated.
  2. The right team to deliver RIPA/BOPS
    The proposed team should cover a range of capabilities and experience relevant to digital planning software. Responses should demonstrate how the time commitments and responsibilities of each team member towards the project team corresponds to the proposed funding. The application should consider how the team will ensure engagement from senior stakeholders and subject matter experts.
  3. Delivery Plan
    The application should have an appropriate plan in place for the team, taking into consideration how the council will manage staffing, recruitment and capacity challenges. The plans should provide a clear breakdown of how the funding from DLUHC will be spent.
  4. The right approach to digital service design
    The application demonstrates how the council has applied the Local Digital Declaration principles in previous transformation or project work. The proposed team should have some experience working in an agile delivery environment and applying user-centred approaches to design.
  5. Sharing knowledge/stakeholder engagement
    The team should have a plan for how they will share progress, learnings and products with key stakeholders in their organisation to help build wider engagement and understanding that supports the adoption of the products.

Following an initial sift, shortlisted councils will be invited to a 60-minute long interview on Wednesday 1 December, Thursday 2 December or Friday 3 December.

Apply to the RIPA/BOPS EOI.