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Happy 10th birthday to us

by on May 29, 2012

Yes, we’ll be 10 years old on Thursday, 31st May – the Portal went live on this day in 2002.

Remarkably, given the turbulence over the years, there are several members of the original project team still slaving away. I joined the party in December 2002, thinking I’d give the Public Sector a go for a while and here I stoically remain.

The original vision for the Portal went something like this:

“Our objectives are to improve the planning system and to create a ‘value adding’ portal business (that delivers services wanted and liked by customers, both public and private).”

I think we’ve just about achieved that, but I’ll let you guys be the ultimate judges and it would be wonderful to hear any of your feedback on our journey so far.

We’ve passed through PINS, ODPM and now DCLG in our time and gone from zero customers and traffic to more than 9 million page views and 25,000 planning applications a month.

Having launched in May 2002 we then had to wait until electronic signature legislation was passed in April 2003 for the first online planning application to be made. It was a simple standard form which was made available to any LPA that wished to offer an electronic option to their customers.

The service has never been mandatory, despite which by early 2006 every LPA was using the form.

The following years saw great progress with the number of users and applications growing steadily and awards being picked up with frankly embarrassing regularity, capped off by the Civil Service Public Value award in 2008/09.

Meanwhile, in 2008 1APP was launched, reducing the number of local variations of sets of application forms from several thousands to one, at a stroke. While not perfect I hope you’ll agree it has made a positive difference.

It’s clear that there is still somewhere to go to reach our internal vision for where we’d like the Portal to be but we are as committed now as we were back then to help wherever we can.

I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone that has helped us along the way, in particular Graham Saunders whose idea it was and Richard Goodwin, who as the first Director set the direction of travel for the Portal and more importantly had the great good sense to employ me.

  1. Charles Williams permalink

    Congratulations on being so useful over the past ten years

  2. James Caldwell permalink

    The Planning Portal is the only change to the planning system in the last 10 years that has genuinely helped facilitate development!!! Thank you for your welcomed newsletters, the very helpful services on your website for professionals and the clear information you provide to the public.

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