Planning is another popular topic, attracting over 6% of council website visitors. Over the past three years we have analysed the task of commenting on planning applications and the task of finding out about the planning decision. Now we turn to the start of the planning process and the task of obtaining advice about permitted developments.
All councils, except shire counties and districts in Northern Ireland (379 councils in all).
In terms of being able to find the relevant information, many councils handle this task reasonably well, with 47% achieving our standard. However, there was all too often a disconnect between what the council website covered and what the Planning Portal explained, the outcome being confusion for the general public.
Check ‘coverage’ to see if your council has been surveyed. Go to councils page and select your council. Look for link to task report under 2016-17 results
NB Question highlighted in red is an ‘essential question’ that must be answered correctly for the council to meet the standard for this task. Questions highlighted in blue affect star ranking
|Questions to be answered "Yes"|
|• Does a site search return the correct result listed in the first five results?||84%|
|• Is there a clear link on the planning landing page to information about the need for planning permission (eg 'Do I need permission?')||74%|
|• Can I access further guidance about planning rules for extensions such as conservatories?||77%|
|• Am I informed that I might apply for a Lawful Development Certificate to confirm that my proposed development does not require planning consent?||44%|
|• Is it clear that a fee is applicable if I apply for a Lawful Development Certificate?||30%|
|• Can I download an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness to submit to the council with the appropriate fee?||39%|
|• Is it clear who I should contact if I need further advice about my proposed development?||64%|
|• Does a Google search lead me to the task?||86%|
|• Is there an entry in the A to Z index?||69%|
|• Would you recommend that other councils look at this implementation as an example of good practice?||11%|
|Out of date information, answered 'No'|
|• Did you come across any out-of-date information about this task?||4%|
|How effectively is this council promoting this as a task?|
|• How effectively is this council promoting this as a task?||1.9|
|Overall, how do you rate the journey plus task completion?|
|• Overall, how do you rate the journey plus task completion?||1.8|
Finding the task
Completing the task
Make sure you provide a clear framework of information about permitted development and include clear links to the best bits of the planning portal. This includes the interactive house/terrace and individual guides about specific types of developments (loft conversions, extensions, porches).
Provide information about each of the options for verifying permitted development, including any ‘informal’ advice from planners right through to to LDCs. It should explain exactly what costs are involved and what you will receive, eg an informal email, a written letter of advice or a legally binding certificate.
Links through to the Planning Portal at the appropriate page. Very smooth process.
A really useful page about permitted development with images of the Planning Portal’s interactive house and terrace. There was very clear information about the processes related to projects under permitted development and clear explanations about the different levels of confirmation you could get for your project. This included paying for a simple letter and also paying for a certificate of lawful development. The information is arranged in a logical sequence and the task journey has been well thought through. Very good indeed.
The task is well promoted. The page ‘Do you need planning permission?’ contained good information about lawful development certificates. I was signposted to the Planning Portal to view the interactive house, but there were also a number of individual links to specific householder developments including one for conservatories and one for extensions. Good.
Very good integration with the Planning Portal. Clear initial information with appropriate links to Planning Portal.
Couldn’t fail to get to this content; on the landing page even a direct link to the Planning Portal for conservatories. Clearly written, nicely laid out.
We assessed this task primarily using the council's facility.