Our team has just wrapped up the fifth sprint of our Back-office Planning System (BoPS) beta phase with Southwark Council, MHCLG and partners.

Our aim is to create a user-centred back-office planning system that uses accurate, up-to-date records and data to increase efficiency across the planning application process and meet the needs of local authority planning teams.

Find out more about the project here: BoPS digital

Progress across the last sprint

The theme for the sprint has been implementing improvements in the lead up to the launch date. It’s an exciting time as the BoPS system is to go into private beta in the near future with three local authorities: Southwark, Buckinghamshire and Lambeth.

Progress across sprint five includes:

“Application received” email

Further work on the “application received” email to applicants when they’ve submitted their planning application. It now confirms that their application has been received by BoPS via the RIPA (‘Reducing Invalid Planning Applications’, the public-facing application system).

Auditing validation requests

A new system has been introduced for auditing change and validation requests when applications have been submitted and changes need to be made. For example, when new or different information is gathered from applicants during the validation process. BoPS now captures this information within the audit log, enabling planning officers to have a view of the audit trail of an application.

Creating evidence tags

Evidence tags have been designed for LDC (Lawful Development Certificate) applications. Currently, BoPS is able to receive plans as documents which can be tagged as what they are (e.g. floor plans, elevation). However, looking forward to supporting immunity applications, we need to be able to manage evidence and tag this as the type of evidence. This new feature enables tagging of documents in the same way as a plan to give planning officers a clear summary of all documents.

Presenting fee information When a resident submits a planning application through RIPA, a fee is taken and processed via GOV.UK Pay. Functionality has been implemented in BoPS to receive the payment reference enabling BoPS to join up the payment reference with RIPA and give planning officers visibility of the fee amount.

Further user testing

The team has also been carrying out further end-to-end user testing across the three partner authorities in the lead up to the MVP launch.

What’s next?

The theme for sprint six is to continue implementing more validation requests and presenting further planning application data within BoPS from RIPA.

Upcoming activities include:

Implementing the payment amount from RIPA Adding in further validation requests from planning officers and applicants during the process Invalidation letters to be sent from BoPS Preparation of monitoring use of BoPS during the private beta Iterating the user guide based on the latest changes to the BoPS system

The BoPS team is keen to speak to more planning teams in other local authorities across the country to set up user testing sessions. If you’d be interested and can spare some time to help with the project, please get in touch via bops@southwark.gov.uk.

See the full recorded Show and Tell here:

BoPS show and tell get involved

Screenshot of Show and Tell

BoPS show and tell #5

Follow BoPS on Twitter for the latest updates: BoPS Twitter page

Written by Fiacré Baidoo