Public Services > Devolved

Revamped Planning Portal site targets improved mobile access

Neil Merrett Published 15 February 2017

New website and online functionality introduced to tackle need for multiple device and language support in planning and building applications in England and Wales

 

The Planning Portal, which provides online planning and building applications in England and Wales, has launched a new website and digital service designed to better support multiple languages and devices as part of aims to better link up with the building industry.

Operated under a joint venture between the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and TerraQuest since 2015, the Planning Portal handles an estimated 90% of planning and building applications in England and Wales.

Sarah Chilcott, the Planning Portal’s managing director, said that between 2015 and 2016, online applications had increased via the service by 8% requiring what she called a robust website and digital platform, with expectations for a growing need to cater for mobile devices and Welsh language transactions.

The revised site has been designed to provide all existing forms and information from the previous site, while being more mobile/tablet friendly and supporting multiple languages.

“An average of 10% of the traffic to our website is from tablets and 22% from mobile – the need to deliver a good experience to these visitors is clear. As part of our commitment to accessibility, we also needed to provide multi-language support for our Welsh users,” said Chilcott.

The new website and service is based on Civica’s application process technology and a content management system (CMS) provided by Jadu that will support more regular updates every two weeks rather than relying on larger upgrades every three to six months.

Jadu was also said to have developed a multi-language workflow engine with the aim to meet the needs of Welsh public sector bodies and removing the need for more advanced technical skills to operate.

After eight months of work, the Planning Portal has re-launched its site with an online building control submission service that aims to meet ambitions to better link planning and building industries.  Considerations are also underway for adding additional functionality.

“Future features will depend on user feedback and the team are actively working on content and user journeys,” added Chilcott.

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