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A Really Useful day in Durham – part two

by on September 26, 2013

This is the second part of the round-up of last week’s Really Useful event in Durham. (For those who attended, this isn’t in the strict running order from the day.)

Continuing the theme of the day, Toni Sambridge of Sunderland City Council spoke about the service changes the council had implemented since 2006 to streamline their planning processes and make better use of technology.

A key recommendation was not to try to run parallel paper and online planning systems but to adopt the online system as the single master copy.

Sunderland publishes all representations received on applications electronically. This lets the council maintain an authoritative online copy.

In line with the Planning Portal’s recommendation, the authority also sends all correspondence to customers electronically, reiterating that it is committed to working electronically.

This approach has been well received by agents and planning professionals, most of whom now subscribe to the authority’s planning alerts notifications to keep them informed of progress with their applications.

In the final session, Shah Amin of Newcastle City Council outlined how the authority had made its move to digital-by-default and the ongoing changes being made to the council website. (Note the presentation may take a moment to load on slower networks.)

A key part of the website work is to focus on user journeys so that customers are presented with the right information at the right time and can move to different parts of the website without difficulty.

A key point to building an effective user journey is to identify the critical points where customers fail to complete tasks to make it easier for them to understand information and guidance.

This in turn will reduce avoidable contact by phone in the event of website content being unclear.

Presentations and resources from the event can be accessed below and if you have any questions please get in touch.

The presenters have advised that they are happy to discuss their projects in the interests of sharing best practice to achieve a channel shift of service delivery.

Thanks again to everyone for making it an enjoyable and useful event.

Resources from the day:

One Comment
  1. Simon Evans permalink

    “Planning alerts notification”? It is clear that some LPAs are way ahead of the game compared with others. Maybe it is the difference between a city LPA and a Borough. But if this is current state of the art, I guess we can look forward to all LPAs adopting it eventually. Bring it on!

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