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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 01/04/2003
NATIONAL PROJECT FOR PLANNING SERVICES



This report is to inform the Executive about a national e-government project for Planning and Regulatory Services, funded by the Government, which involves a bidding process for funds. Waverley has been invited to join the bidding process and the Executive’s approval is sought for this involvement.
APPENDIX M

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 1ST APRIL 2003

Title:
NATIONAL PROJECT FOR PLANNING SERVICES

Summary and Purpose

This report is to inform the Executive about a national e-government project for Planning and Regulatory Services, funded by the Government, which involves a bidding process for funds. Waverley has been invited to join the bidding process and the Executive’s approval is sought for this involvement.

Background

1. At the end of last year, Waverley was invited to join a group of local authorities to put a bid together for a “National Project” on Planning and Regulatory Services. “National Projects” are a series of schemes funded by the Government to accelerate and “deepen” the progress of e-government.

2. A consortium of 19 local authorities led by Wandsworth LB, together with key national organisations; IDeA , RTPI, Planning Officers’ Society and the Planning Portal have put forward proposals for a number of different projects to “e-enable” parts of the planning service. Waverley initially worked with Salisbury to bring forward some ideas and these are set out in the attached document at Annexe 1.

National Project


3. The National Project aims to build on work already undertaken through the “Pathfinder” process, most notably by Wandsworth LB and the “Planning Portal”, through providing the following deliverables:

the development of systems to support the planning process where they do not exist at
present

the establishment of a set of standards for the delivery of e-planning services the delivery of a toolkit to enable local authorities to implement the systems necessary to meet those standards in a cost efficient manner. 4. The Project has been divided into four main streams:
5. The ODPM is interested in seeing what a fully “e-enabled” planning service could look like. Although Wandsworth is probably the most advanced of the authorities taking part in terms of “e-enablement”, other authorities have come forward with ideas on how to give better access to the planning process and all have a chance of being successful in their bids.

Waverley’s Bid

6. Waverley’s suggested involvement would be in Stream 1; “Accessible Planning Services”. The ideas in the bid build on the work already being done in the pilot project on customer service delivery at Farnham Locality Office. The basis of the bid is to take a customer based perspective to improve access to information and advice related to a planning project. So, for example, advice would be available on-line for those wanting to find out if planning permission is necessary, how an applicant’s planning application is progressing or specific advice for businesses on how to submit planning applications and also the latest information on available premises. A major new idea in the Waverley project would be a scheme to improve the standard of planning application submissions through a self-certification scheme for agents. This would speed up the initial registration of applications submitted by these agents.

7. The Waverley proposal would be self-financing and would include the resources of a project manager. The bid amounts to 375,000.

Funding

8. The Modernisation Unit of the ODPM’s office has assisted the Consortium in bidding for a total figure of 4.45m for the overall National Project. The Parliamentary Order to authorise the funding was passed in Parliament on 26th February. The money has to be used by March 2004.

9. The National Project Board will be meeting on 21st March to look at the totality of the bids and to identify overlaps and gaps in the projects. It is hoped that an oral report can be given to the Executive on the outcome of this meeting.

Recommendation

The Executive is asked to approve Waverley’s involvement in the bidding process.

Background Papers (DoP&D)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Louise Norie Telephone: 01483 523464
E-mail: lnorie@waverley.gov.uk

comms/executive/2002-2003/604