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How to link more effectively to Portal services

by on February 20, 2014

The Planning Portal’s content team has produced a short guidance note with links to the most commonly requested planning and building control content on the website.

Simple but effective linking can save LPAs time and money. Based on a sample of local authorities completing a recent Socitm study, it costs £8.62 per visit for face-to-face interaction and £2.83 per phone call – but just £0.15 per visit if customers use the council website instead.

However, according to the Socitm research, many self-service council site visits are failing their customers.

Improving citizen ‘self-service’ is one of the main ways of reducing call and face-to-face volumes without reducing customer satisfaction. Another is reducing the number of ‘avoidable calls’.

Both these aims can be met through effective website linking strategies. For example, following recent reviews of council websites as part of our Smarter Planning initiative, we often notice that councils link to the Portal homepage for planning applications rather than the specific ‘Apply’ page –

This can confuse the customer journey and lead to additional – and avoidable – contact.    

You can download the guidance note, which contains links to download graphics for buttons and HTML to embed the interactive guides on your website, here:

  1. Simon Evans permalink

    I am glad this advice has been given and I do hope LPAs will take note. From an end user POV, the single biggest problem with LA websites is that they are far too cluttered. Obviously, they do have an enormous amount of information to contain and update, but the feeling is that they do not road test things as much as they might. On some websites, a simple search for current planning applications can involve a whole series of links from page to page, agreeing to conditions of use, etc. As for getting contact details for relevant people, don’t even get me started!

  2. Pete Smail permalink

    Shame some of the portals services like plans, use the same suppliers for 5 years with no review.. basically a state monopoly.

  3. Edward McGill RIBA permalink

    I find I cannot send in an application for appeal costs using the on line appeal service. The on line appeal form blocks every attempt. If you fill in the block for no appeal costs application, then the form is OK.
    Is this an attempt to stop claims against local authority planning dept or a computer technical problem?

  4. Michael Stephenson permalink

    They have four different map suppliers (presumably others can apply to be listed on the Portal as well). You can also obtain/use maps from other sources if you wish. Not really sure how that constitutes a monopoly.

  5. Its great to see this advice so clearly set out, but please could you update your link to the ancient woodland standing advice, it is now no longer limited to the South East but is national:

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