Weeknote — 2020-08-11

Digital land sprint notes

It’s been a big 2 weeks for the team as the Planning White Paper was published, with lots of content on data and digital. We’ve also been part of several remote events, we’ve started user research on the local plans project, and we’ve been improving our website.


The work we’ve been doing with our policy colleagues on the White Paper was published this sprint. We’re really happy that the digitisation of the planning system is central to the proposed reform.

There are 2 aspects we’re particularly excited about: the creation of digital local plans and the streamlining of planning decisions. Both are things we have already been working on through our work on local plans and planning registers.

Jess, Lawrence and Rishi organised a PropTech event with the Secretary of State, that showcased a range of great demos and included a discussion on digital innovation in planning. The message from the start-up community was clear; they need more and better quality planning data. This is exactly what the data and digital aspects of the White Paper focus on.

We also joined a Roundtable Discussion exploring how PropTech companies are supporting economic recovery, organised by Tech.London and UK PropTech Association. Our Chief Digital Officer Paul Maltby moderated and Jess joined the panel, alongside PropTech companies and people across the ecosystem.

Roundtable Eventbrite image


Colm and Loïc have started reviewing the Digital Land website. The site started out aimed at users wanting to find out about the work the team has been doing, but over time the intended user groups of the site have grown to include:

  • data publishers: users who need to understand what data they should be publishing and how
  • data consumers: users who need to find data they can use and trust

We’re now looking at how we can change and improve the site over the coming weeks and months. We’ve started by mapping out user journeys for the specification and other pages on our website and making recommendations for each step.

Emily has also started writing content for the specification pages to help users navigate the different schemas.

journey map of specification pages: start point; specification home; list of datasets; list of schemas

Local plans

Loïc and Lorna have started user research and have spoken to 2 local planning authorities about their processes around producing a local plan and its attached policies. More interviews are lined up for the coming weeks.

Colm has been working on our list of local plans using data from our local plans prototype.

We also started to investigate the data we need to standardise as a part of our work with the RIPA and BOPS projects.


We ran a team session (remotely) to check in and make sure we understood our respective roles and responsibilities within the team. With a multidisciplinary team and a lot of new people joining, it was important to take the time and reflect on this.

Roles and responsibilities Miro board post-it notes