Weeknote — 2019-10-07

This week at Digital Land


It’s been a rollercoaster of a week for the Digital Land team. Sadly we’ve said goodbye to Ed, our brilliant policy lead, who is moving upstairs to start his new job as Private Secretary to the Permanent Secretary - a bit of a tongue twister, but a brilliant role! Whilst we’re sad to see him go, we’re proud to have a Digital Land alumnus working at the top levels of MHCLG.

Ed being given leaving card

But the silver lining is that as Ed leaves, our front end developer/designer/digital extraordinaire Colm returns from living abroad and will be working with us in the MHCLG office more often.

Jess has been working with housing delivery colleagues who are exploring opportunities to work with PropTech companies in the future. She was also happy to join the very full house at the Geovation Showcase on Thursday evening.

Compulsory purchase orders

With input from the team, Lorna has been organising usability testing of the compulsory purchase orders (CPOs) prototype with lawyers, surveyors and local authorities. We’ve been iterating the prototype ready for testing.

This week’s also been focussed on reacting, redacting, redacting! We met with colleagues in the freedom of information and data protection team to agree an approach for redacting decision letters and inspector reports. We've started building a set of rules to help ensure all personal information in CPO decision letters is redacted. Helena estimates that between herself and Matt, they've redacted more than 2000 pages this week alone!

Matt and Jake also met with GDS to understand more about the 'specialist publisher’ and whether it will be suitable to use for publishing CPO documents. It seemed like a good match and we will continue conversations with GDS.

Brownfield sites

Emily, Michael and Matt have been writing some new guidance for publishing brownfield site data. We’re aiming to update the current guidance on GOV.UK soon.

Post-it notes on a board - revisiting the brownfield sites data format

Jake and Paul revisited the brownfield site data format, working out how to make it easier for local authorities to publish their data. The Twittersphere seemed to appreciate this news!

Developer contributions

Helena, Lorna and Matt started making introductory calls with local planning authority participants for the developer contributions private beta.

Local plans

Helena, Michael and Emily have been rewriting the local plans discovery report for website content, ready to test out our new website project page designs - watch this space!

Planning projects

Paul's sketch - Notes on a user-centred back office planning system

Paul and Matt met with Egle from the Local Digital Collaboration Unit, Jack from Southwark Council and Martyn from Unboxed to talk through the proposed approach for the back office planning system alpha. It’s a big problem to solve, but exciting to see how it brings together other elements of the planning ecosystem.