Weeknote — 2019-09-13

This week at Digital Land


Jess, Natalie, and Ed have been working on next week's PropTech workshop for colleagues in the Housing Delivery and Planning directorates. Jess was out Thursday night moderating a panel at a PropTech event at the London Connectory, seeing a number of friends of the team.

Natalie, Ed, and the team have been also been involved in writing submissions, contributing to papers, and attending steering groups and cross-government meetings, work which is hard for us to talk about in public.

Developer Contributions

Natalie presented our guidance and tools at a Planning Officers Society (POS) meeting in Leeds. Lorna reported we've received applications from 12 local planning authorities to participate in our private beta phase. Jake has begun work to support Developer Contributions in the productised data collector and validator we've been developing for brownfield sites.

Compulsory Purchase Orders

Screenshot of our CPO dashboard Colm and Adam continued work on a dashboard for Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) following more feedback, and ahead of testing our hypotheses in a lab.

Matt continued redacting CPO documents, and presented his approach at our show and tell, as we prepare for the "second pair of eyes" procedure for publication.

Matt's review of the documents brought to our attention how many CPO inspection reports reference a policy in a local plan. This is exciting as it shows the value of our work to make local plans policies citable, and exemplifies the network effects we expect to see from working on more projects.


Sketch prototype of our project pages

Michael and Helena have been looking at how to better structure our project pages, starting with a format for the end of a discovery, and Helena and Hattie started work on improving how we on-board policy teams and engage suppliers by shaping the contents of a possible digital land project playbook.

Showing our value


Wednesday we were joined by independent film-maker Graham Higgins. Lorna interviewed Paul, Natalie and Jess to help us introduce the team's vision to a wider audience.


Helena visited GDS to participate in cross-government design meeting. Paul, Jake and Rebecca have all been involved in recruitment, interviewing people for digital roles across the department.

The whole team spent much of Monday afternoon in a PERMA workshop. Health and well-being is important to all of us, especially at this stressful time working in the Civil Service. However we felt the workshop was not well designed, and not a great fit for people working in multidisciplinary teams. It could have better supported us in ways of dealing with the emotional issues raised by the exercise.

Following the workshop, we started to think about other ways of checking the emotional temperature of the team, especially during our agile ceremonies, to meet the goals of the health and well-being initiative for individuals. Mostly this means us all taking time to ensure we look after ourselves and each other, and reminding people “it's OK”.