Weeknote — 2020-02-21

Digital land sprint notes

This sprint we’ve made great progress across projects, including working on IFS calculations, creating new pages for brownfield land data, and iterating the GOV.UK developer contributions guidance.

Brownfield land

Colm, Matt and Emily have been working on new web pages to help local planning authorities (LPAs) view and check their brownfield land data. We plan to send a link to "check" page with step by step instructions intended to help each LPA review and resolve issues with their data.

The instructions will include a link to a second "resource" page which presents the results of processing each LPA's data, showing the sites on a map as well as a breakdown of figures, including the number of:

  • brownfield sites
  • hectares of brownfield land
  • potential dwellings that could be built

View your data web page

Lorna and Stephanie have been recruiting for and conducting interviews with LPAs about how they produce their brownfield data. They held 1 user interview this week and have a further 4 booked in for the next sprint.

They also mapped out the user journey for LPAs checking their brownfield land data. This map shows both the journey of LPAs when checking their data, and the journey of the data. This has been helpful in identifying the questions to ask authorities, as well as spotting where feedback loops (where we feedback to LPAs, and where they can feedback to us) might arise or be needed. It’s also a very useful tool within the team for ensuring we are all working to the same plan and surfacing any uncertainties or areas for clarity.

Brownfield user journey map

Matt has designed a tool to help segment our users by different categories of data, such as by LPAs that have missing data, or ordering users by number of potential dwellings. This helps us in many ways, but importantly helps us to prioritise which users we research with based on different criteria, through quantitative analysis of organisations’ brownfield land data.

This has also helped Lorna and Stephanie create personalised discussion guides for user interviews based on each organisation’s data. As part of the recruitment activities, they also mapped out target LPAs to research with, helping to ensure we include users from a range of geographical locations.

Map of users we want to research with

Infrastructure funding statement (IFS)

Helena and Jake have been using the developer contributions data published by LPAs to automate some calculations for the IFS, which should make it easier for authorities to report these figures. We can now calculate many of the figures required for IFS, and build these figures into an editable template document. You can view the current prototype here.

IFS draft template

Developer contributions

Emily iterated the developer contributions guidance on GOV.UK, based on the recent user research findings.The biggest change has been to split out certain information about Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and Section 106 contributions, beginning with separating the contribution funding statuses, and the contribution purposes that apply to the different contribution types.

Colm designed a new page on our website which clearly states developer contributions purpose identifiers, helping to make the difference between CIL and Section 106 clearer.

Local plans

Rebecca, Hattie and Paul interviewed suppliers for the alpha phase, and selected a team.

Golden thread

We’re hiring a team to run an 8 week discovery into the golden thread of building safety information, and the opportunity is now on Digital Marketplace.


Jess met with a variety of PropTech companies including HomeViews, Goodlord, and Silver Sharers, to hear their perspectives and insights.

Jess also enjoyed joining a monthly Canadian call that brings together banks, regulators, PropTech companies and policymakers to discuss the latest innovations around mortgages and affordability of new homes. Thanks to Vicki Martin at Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for hosting and inviting us to join.


As usual, a lot of hard but important policy work carries on behind the scenes. Natalie continued work with Richard Pope and planning policy colleagues on the accelerated planning whitepaper, and Rishi organised our quarterly steering group, with great representation from across the department.


We moved downstairs in our office and are now based on the ground floor of 2 Marsham Street, where digital lived just over a year ago. We’re loving our bigger and better wall space!

Lastly, Paul D, Paul M and Ben had an impromptu visit to Number 10.

PSD, Paul M and Ben outside Number 10