4. Objectives & principles

Our objective is to develop a digital service pattern called ‘Apply for Planning Permission’ that:

– allows applicants and their agents to submit planning applications to councils as data, as far as possible

– makes preparing and submitting a planning application as easy, unintimidating and as painless as possible for users

– reduces the number of invalid planning applications by 80%

– is interoperable with back-office platforms that can use the planning application data, making it easier and quicker for councils to process planning applications.

– is as easy as possible for councils nationwide to adopt and adapt

Design principles for digital planning services

Planning services should be as easy to find and use as possible for all who need to use them.
Planning processes, policies and requirements should be as clear as possible as early as possible in the design process.
Don’t expect users to be experts
Don’t ask applicants for information that they have already provided, or ask them to research information that is already known somewhere.
Allow applicants to see the reasons behind any rule or decision, referenced all the way back to policy, legislation or case law.
Only show / ask users information that is relevant to what they are doing, so everyone can focus on what matters.

Put planners in control
Planning services (rules, information requirements, data etc) should be controlled by the planning authorities who own them, not suppliers or ‘AI’.