PINS Appeals Action Plan
The Planning Inspectorate is working with the Government Digital Service (GDS) on the development of a new portal for all its casework. This will initially be an interim digital public service using a third-party tool whilst also developing a strategic portal solution that will be internally owned and managed by the Planning Inspectorate.
GDS ruled out the long-term use of a portal provided on a ‘software as a service’-basis and required it to be developed specifically for and then maintained by the Planning Inspectorate. This resulted in substantial additional procurement activity becoming
necessary during late 2018/early 2019. To reduce the delaying impact of the additional procurement currently in train, GDS agreed to this interim solution but only for our ‘volume’ s78 planning appeals; not those proceeding by way of an Inquiry. Now the costs are becoming clearer, the funding of a portal solution owned and managed by the Inspectorate is currently unresolved; it is likely that additional funding will be required from MHCLG.
In parallel to the further procurement activity, we have undertaken further work with users over the past 6 months. This has given us a substantially better understanding of the similarities and differences between the different appeals processes in technology implementation terms and user needs. We therefore now believe that Inquiry appeals could be easily integrated as part of the interim solution. However, this is dependent on achieving agreement from GDS to expanding the interim solution to include Inquiry appeals. We are currently in discussions with GDS about this The Inquiries Review, published on 12 February (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-planning-appeal Inquiries-report ), flagged the urgent need for an improved digital public service for this casework (see recommendation 1). We are aware of the substantial public and Secretary of State interest in the timely implementation of the recommendations made in the Review Report. For this reason, and as it unlocks a vast number of benefits for us, we are very keen to deliver on this recommendation as quickly as possible
In other words an off the shelf SoS solution can work, GDS is blocking it and we dont have the money for their built from scratch approach anyway. Remember these are the guys that brought us digitisation of the NHS.