In Barnsley we use the M3 system from Northgate to process planning applications and we use their Planning Explorer module to present them online.

That online presentation isn't good enough for our customers and our planning officers spend more of their time answering phone queries about applications, than they do actually processing them **

Our solution is use the web services that are available with the Northgate solution to develop our own presentation layer.

It will be designed to satisfy residents, businesses, planning officers and planning agents by way of allowing much more flexible search options, push notifications, embedded maps and importantly - status change updates.

The largest issue noted to date is that when a planning application is submitted, it goes into a void until a decision is made. We must surface some of the detail from the processing steps to consider this development a success.

UPDATE - APRIL 2016: The solution has been running in beta mode for a little under 12 months now and we've had some great feedback from planning agents that have led to tweaks here and there. Our biggest remaining stumbling block is arranging visibility of documents. While they are available now, the solution isn't the best or most sustainable. Also, we intend to adjust the branding on the screens shortly to bring into line with our new design guide principles.

** this may be a slight exaggeration. Our planning officers are excellent!

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