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2018 Round-up

by on December 19, 2018

It’s been an eventful but rewarding year at the Planning Portal. As the festive period approaches, it’s the perfect time to thank you, our customers, for your continued support. It’s also a good opportunity for us to look back at how we’ve developed over the past twelve months; to reflect on what we’ve learnt and what we’re still aiming to achieve.

Financial Transaction Service

The biggest piece of work this year was the development and launch of our payment system. The success of this service is one of our proudest achievements to date. Despite a few technical hiccups early on, the service is working well. Application volumes have remained consistent and we have seen a huge shift away from cheque payments and around 85 per cent of applications are now paid for online or by nominating a client to pay online. In fact cheque payments now only account for around three per cent of payments, eliminating the traditional delays associated with payments made by cheque.

Local planning authorities are also no longer inundated with missing payment issues and can get on with validating applications as soon as they get them from us. Agents can now use a standardised set of payment options to pay for applications to any local authority, including the option to nominate a client to pay online. There is no doubt that our service has made the application process more efficient for everyone involved.

Improvements to 1App

Following the launch of our payment service, we are delighted to have been able to increase the maximum file size for upload, from 5MB to 10MB. This is an update which we have wanted to implement for some years. This is just the beginning of a long pipeline of improvements still to come, which the much needed financial stability provided by our payment service is helping us to deliver.

You can read more about this update, as well as other changes, in our recent blog post.

GDPR

Of course, 2018 has also been the year of GDPR. Just as many of you will have taken time out of your working routines to ensure you are GDPR compliant, so have we.

Meticulous work by the Portal team earlier this year ensured that our own internal processes and data handling were ready for the changes in legislation, as were both our planning and building control application services. This has involved close partnership working with local planning authorities to align our processes to be compliant, along with improvements to content on our site to explain our approach to applicants.

Planning Applications Wales

In May this year, we successfully launched Planning Applications Wales, the online planning application service for Wales, to better meet the needs of the Welsh Government and their planning policy. All planning applications for Wales are now made through this system.

If you haven’t already seen it, you can find Planning Applications Wales here.

RTPI Directory of Planning Consultants

At the start of 2018, we took over the management of the RTPI Directory of Planning Consultants. This has proved to be hugely successful with c.3,300 people visiting the directory every month,  50 per cent of which now do so through our site*.

We are now moving towards the end of the renewals period for 2019 listings. If you have a qualified RTPI member working at your organisation and would like to list your company in the RTPI directory of Planning Consultants for 2019, please get in touch before 31 December by emailing RTPIdirectory@planningportal.co.uk.

If you have already subscribed, we look forward to working with you in 2019.

Strategic partnerships

And finally, we are delighted to have signed several important strategic partnerships this year, building on our aim of working in partnership with other credible organisations who share our vision.

This year we have built relationships with the Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT), The Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). These relationships are so important to us, since they allow us to become more proactively involved in the most important conversations taking place in planning and building right now. Sharing news, information and ideas across sectors means we can help to positively shape the future of the industry.

 

All in all, it’s been a busy year for us. We have moved forward with our mission to positively transform planning and building. We are proud of the work we have done so far and the lessons we have learnt along the way. And as always, we welcome the opportunity to receive your feedback on all of our services and welcome any suggestions of what we can do to improve.

We look forward to working with you all in 2019 and thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy holidays, from everyone at the Planning Portal.

* Google analytics May ’18 – Oct ’18

 

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