Online planning applications website gets revamp of it digital service

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The Planning Portal, the online planning applications website, has launched a new website and improved its digital service

Changes are being made to the Planning Portal, the home of online planning applications.

Planning Portal is the national planning application service for England and Wales, and is a joint venture between TerraQuest and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

Online applications on the rise

Some 90 per cent of applications are now made online, with 140,000 registered user making 2,000 applications per day.

The new site will improve the services offered by Planning Portal, including making it mobile friendly and providing multi-language support.

Managing Director of the Planning Portal Sarah Chilcott said: “We were seeing a steady rise in online applications, an eight per cent increase from 2015 to 2016, so required a robust website and digital platform to support this, which could also facilitate growth in mobile and tablet usage.

“An average of 10 per cent of the traffic to our website is from tablets and 22 per cent from mobile – the need to deliver a good experience to these visitors is clear. As part of our commitment to accessibility, we also needed to provide multi-language support for our Welsh users.

“The new Planning Portal is based on Jadu Continuum CMS, a solution that updates every two weeks, meaning we don’t have to endure big three or six monthly upgrades. The maintenance is iterative and ongoing, so disruption is kept to an absolute minimum.

“Having listened and responded to the needs of our users, we now provide a mobile-friendly site. We’re always looking forward and will continue to iterate based on customer feedback.

“The new Planning Portal is faster and mobile-friendly with better focus on key user tasks.

“Everything should look familiar but we’ve made the application process faster and easier.”

Collaboration

Chilcott also explained that the revamp includes a new service called ‘Workspaces’. This allows teams to collaborate on planning applications.

“One team member can start an application process and anyone with permission can help input. Previously the originator of the project would have had to collate the information and enter manually.”

Multi-language workflow engine

Jadu, the firm behind the new site, developed a multi-language workflow engine that makes it easy for language translators to be involved in the content authoring and publishing process without needing technical skills.

Jadu’s Chief Executive Officer Suraj Kika said: “Delivering multi-language support with translation workflows means Jadu can now offer Welsh public sector organisations something unique in the market.”

Civica is supplying the technology behind the application process while the new website was designed by Spacecraft Digital.

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