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Just a catch-up

by on December 11, 2009

Things are pretty hectic at the moment – even more than usual – so I thought it might be time for a general update.

Online planning applications are bobbling along at about 35 per cent (of all applications) which is OK, but not where we want it to be. As a result, we are about to launch into overdrive with events and activities aimed at agents and applicants running throughout January, February and March. Our aim is to get as close to 50 per cent as possible by the end of March.

On the technical front, work continues apace on the redesign, with ourselves, IBM and our usability and design partners all focused on delivering a site that will be uniquely useful and efficient. An early quick win of the new infrastructure is that we have been able to offer the IPC a website on the same platform – saving them a great deal of money and time.

As mentioned previously, we are now working with the Cabinet Office on a version of the Portal for DirectGov and our plans to offer local LPA versions of the Portal are gathering momentum (I’d be delighted to hear from any LPA who likes the idea of their own version of the site, wrapped in their own local authority branding).

Right now I’m working up the business plans for next year and beyond and it’s already clear money will be tighter than in previous years. No surprise there!

Unlike many of our colleagues, we are at least in the position to generate revenue. So we are assessing our options – projecting and planning like mad – and intend to start the new (financial) year with a commercial focus previously only hinted at. Watch this space!
One area where we’ve been a little quiet on has been the whole climate change agenda. I don’t need to tell you folks about the mountain of paper that planning creates and the negative impact on the environment that it brings, but until now, we’ve focused on the business efficiencies of e-enabling.

However, we’ve now created a CO2 calculator that will enable LPAs and applicants to calculate the benefits of e-enabling their existing paper processes. The schema has been through lots of validation and testing with LPAs, professionals and agencies, such as CEED and is almost good to go. We are now putting a user-friendly front-end on to it before releasing it into the world.

All of this and lots more too, including work to implement CIL, supporting Killian Pretty, driving e-consultation forward, talking to BusinessLink and Building Control, etc…and I joined the Civil Service for an easy life!

One Comment
  1. Things are very tight in Councils at te moment and all our teams are under pressure from the accountants.

    As such I am very interested in using a ‘branded’ version of the Portal web site. We are reviewing our own site at the moment and as a Council we are launching a new corprate site in April so we have to update/rebrand and re-link all our current pages so anything you can do to help reduce cost would be mst welcome.

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