Weeknote — 2019-08-23

This week at Digital Land

It's August, and some of the team have been seconded to lend their digital skills to another project in the department, but it's still been quite a busy week for those of us left in the office. Natalie, Ed and Paul have been involved in preparing papers and participating in discussions on a number of different policy areas which we unfortunately can't talk about publicly, yet. We also began investigating two new projects related to building regulations.

Matt has been working with our friends in the developer contributions policy team on how we can support pilot authorities, and workshops planned for when the regulations come into force in September. That's soon!

Our work on Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) has picked up pace. Matt visited the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol with our policy specialist Tom and colleagues from the Planning Caseworker Unit. They discussed progress so far, how we plan to open up historical data, and the process for keeping it up to date. Colm made changes to the prototype dashboard following feedback from the meeting and continued to work with the historical data and documents. Lorna continued her user research, interviewing people interested in CPO data from the PropTech sector and acquiring authorities.

We've also been continuing to shape an alpha for local plans based on our recent discovery and prototype dashboard. We envisage an alpha on how to sustain a national picture of local plan-making, starting with data for a timetable of the process in each local planning authority, and a list of the policy topics covered by each local plan document.

Hattie's workshop preparation

As well as projects and policy we've also been working on the digital land service itself. Moving projects between phases requires a lot of hidden, time-consuming effort, and we have a lot of different projects underway. Hattie has been helping us navigate this process of writing business cases, getting spend control approval, posting opportunities on the Digital Marketplace, and selecting teams brilliantly. Helena has begun working with Hattie to find ways we can improve this important part of our process. Oh, and as we recently learnt, Hattie runs a great workshop!

Digital Land Wall

Paul revamped our wall to better reflect our understanding of the data ecosystem, and Helena and Lorna used the wall to continue to shape our collection of hypotheses for our products.

Jake has been evolving the architecture of the collector pipeline. He's also been investigating ways of mapping data into a consistent shape, starting with harmonising the multitude of different file formats we have collected for brownfield sites. Despite all this, he seems to be maintaining his great sense of humour.