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Project

Developer contributions

We’ve been working with local planning authorities to design a data format for publishing developer contributions. Otherwise known as planning obligations, developer contributions are commitments to improving local community infrastructure that developers agree with planning authorities. They include but are not limited to Section 106 agreements, viability assessments and community infrastructure levies. The new data format should help make developer contributions data easier to find, understand, use and trust.

This work is part of a larger effort to improve the system of developer contributions by making it more transparent, accountable and effective. A public consultation on the technical implementation of proposed reforms ran until 31 January.


Help us develop a common data format

In the alpha phase of this project, we developed a new common standard for publishing data on developer contributions.

We are proposing a simple data format for developer contributions that:

  • meets the user needs we’ve identified
  • requires minimal effort from local planning authorities to create and make the data available

You can help us improve the format by:

We will continue to develop the format as we learn from testing the format with data and the prototypes with users.

We would particularly like to hear from local planning authorities who are able to make their developer contributions public and would be willing to participate in our user research.


Current areas of investigation

The following areas of investigation explore how the data could be used and made easier to work with:

In progress

A collection of viability assessments

Questions we’re asking

Finding published viability assessments is extremely difficult. Would providing an index of viability assessments, along with important information, be of value to local planning authorities and interested members of the community?

What we will test

In progress

Developer contributions dashboard

Questions we’re asking

Will presenting what contribution agreements have been made, where funds have been allocated, and whether money has been spent help answer questions from the community, local authorities and government?

What we will test

In progress

Entering data for a Section 106 executive summary

Questions we’re asking

Section 106 contributions are published as documents. Would offering planning authorities a simple form enable them to identify pertinent information from within the document and publish it as summary data?

What we tested

What we’ve learned

Many planning authorities are already using third party tools to help manage their developer contributions. Asking to double-key much of the same data into an additional form would become burdensome and likely lead to a poor quality of data.

In progress

Checking developer contribution data is valid

Questions we’re asking

Developer contributions data will need to be published in line with the data format. Would offering planning authorities a simple validator help them ensure their publication follows that format?

What we will test


Upcoming areas of investigation

We plan to explore the following by prototyping tools and by testing and consulting with people involved with developer contributions, and responding to your feedback.

We will regularly add updates to the following issues on GitHub:


Timeline

28 March 2019

We user tested the developer contributions guidance with 4 monitoring officers from local authorities, observing how they understood and used the guidance and whether they were able to meet the data format. We will improve the guidance based on the user needs identified.

19 February 2019

We attended the Planning Officers Society meeting in London to present the broader work that the Digital Land Services team are doing, and to provide an overview of the proposed developer contributions data format.

01 February 2019

The Planning Advisory Service hosted a workshop in Birmingham to provide an opportunity for local planning authorities to learn more about the proposed changes, and provide an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. You can find out more and register here.

31 January 2019

The public consultation ended.

29 January 2019

The Planning Advisory Service hosted a workshop in Leeds to provide an opportunity for local planning authorities to learn more about the proposed changes, and provide an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. You can find out more and register here.

28 January 2019

The Planning Advisory Service hosted a workshop in London to provide an opportunity for local planning authorities to learn more about the proposed changes, and provide an opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback. You can find out more and register here.

20 December 2018

The public consultation started.

19 December 2018

We met with Babergh & Mid Suffolk Councils, and Exacom to test the proposed data format against how they currently manage their developer contributions.

22 November 2018

We held a discovery workshop hosted by the GLA along with TFL and Southwark Council to walk through our joint approach for developer contributions.

16 October 2018

We published a blog post with more information about this project.

10 October 2018

We met with Exacom to learn how developer contributions are managed within their product, and to explore opportunities for re-purposing existing data.

September 2018

We conducted user research to understand more about how developer contributions are managed, and what user needs we could address through making the data available. This included sessions with Southwark Council, Dacorum Borough Council, Lambeth Council, Islington Council and Waltham Forest Council.

June 2018

An initial draft of a data standard was produced by iStandUK, this provided us with a baseline to test and refine based on user needs.

Spring 2018

MHCLG commissioned a local authority consortium iStandUK to produce a data standard for developer contributions.

iStandUK met with local authorities to examine how contributions could be captured.

Autumn 2017

Feedback from the white paper welcomed the intention to improve transparency, but highlighted the lack of data on developer contributions as a major barrier.

February 2017

MHCLG published a white paper setting out plans to make the planning system more transparent.

Help us improve Digital Land by sharing your feedback with us.