Digital Place Based Engagement

Contents:

  1. Project outputs
  2. Project timeline

This project led by Camden Council focusses on producing a working digital planning notice that allows users to access planning notices online. This ensures local people, businesses, and other key stakeholders have a meaningful say on emerging strategies, masterplans, urban intervention projects (like town centre renewal projects) and major planning applications. The project is due to start the next stage of delivery in May 2021.

Digital notice prototype
Digital notice prototype

The project builds on previously completed discovery work that aimed to produce:

  • a prototype for a ‘digital’ planning notice linked to an e-alert system
  • a playbook for digital place-based engagement

A digital planning notice will provide a user-friendly way for people to find out about development proposals near them. It will include more consistent signposting to planning consultations connected to that location, such as: 

  • planning applications
  • neighbourhood plan consultations
  • proposed site allocations
  • other linked spatial matters

The playbook will allow users to navigate the array of strategies, platforms, and tools for digital place-based engagement (DPE). It will provide practical support to develop comprehensive and effective approaches to DPE to be used independently or alongside traditional face-to-face consultation methods.

The project follows Agile delivery principles, incorporating user research and service design into its activities. Working in the open, the project hosts fortnightly show and tells to update on progress and share findings. You can find the show and tells on YouTube and sprint notes on Medium. Everyone can request joining instructions by direct messaging @DigitAllPlanTec on Twitter or sending an email to digitalplanning@camden.gov.uk. The project also has a group on LinkedIn.

Project outputs

The project produced a number of outputs that can be viewed and reused by other organisations:

Downloads

Project timeline

August 2020

  • The project receives £80,000 funding
  • Setting up the team and collecting resources
  • Collating the platforms and tools for the content of the playbook
  • Undertaking procurement activities

September 2020

October 2020

  • The project attended a join up session of our funded C-19 projects that aim to produce a playbook. With Community engagement playbook and Digital inclusion toolkit projects in the ‘room’ we looked at how each of the projects is approaching the need for a ‘playbook’ and agreed ways to continue sharing insights. 
  • The project presented at LocaGov Camp as part of the Local Digital takeover
  • The project is going through supplier evaluation. 
  • The project did their 2nd show and tell, you can view the link to recording and slides. At the show and tell the project presented research into the demographics of people who engage (and don’t). They also looked at Information Governance for user research.
  • Following the show and tell the project published their sprint notes 2, you can catch up here.
  • You can listen to the podcast from GovLaunch and article about the project.
  • The project has been working on procurement activities and appointed a delivery partner to help the project.
  • They’ve also been focusing on survey questions, looking at SCIs, refining and grouping stakeholder user stories, Information governance (LIA and DPIA in particular)

November 2020

  • The project has been working on a couple of surveys to send out, one to other councils and one to council residents.
  • The project has also completed their SCI comparison work that will ensure the digital notice will meet legislative requirements.
  • The project had a kick off with their supplier FutureGov and are now putting in place agreed ways of working and planning the next few sprints.
  • The project has been working on reviewing existing progress, prepping for user research and agreeing ways of working, and putting together a delivery team with their delivery partner FutureGov. 
  • The project wrote sprint notes covering Sprints 3&4 where they talk about how they defined user stories for the playbook, worked to understand requirements for planning notices and appointed a project delivery partner. 
  • The project presented at Local Digital C-19 showcase. View the entire showcase on YouTube.
  • The project had their 4th show and tell and a kick off workshop with their supplier.

December 2020

  • The project had a show and tell where they spoke about how they’re taking a hypothesis based approach to understand users and their problems. They have also started to map the data and impacts of site notices. Show and tell recording is available project’s YouTube account. Following the show and tell project partners took part in an ideation session where they used Crazy Eights framework to define what the digital planning notice could look like.
  • Project partners redefined the project scope and are preparing to send out local authority questionnaire and user research recruitment form.

January 2021

  • The project had their first show and tell of the year. The team kept busy during the last sprint by creating a Twitter bot that sends notifications about new planning applications and where they are on a map; and running an ideation workshop about what the digital planning notices should look like. 
  • They finalised a playbook survey that aims to:
    • baseline council’s digital engagement with residents and communities before and during the pandemic
    • find out what the motivations, needs and barriers are for councils doing digital engagement
    • find out what information councils think they need from a playbook to support them to improve engagement
  • In addition, the project is gathering the information for the example planning applications, which will assist them in producing new site notice mock ups. They’ve also been looking at content and wireframing, and preparing for testing next week. User recruitment is ongoing though citizen’s assemblies, community groups, etc.
  • Project had one more show and tell, a recording if it is available on YouTube.

February 2021

The project receives £100,000 of follow-on funding from the Local Digital Fund to continue their work. During the next phase, the project aims to deliver 3 goals:

1. A working digital notice
They will code a notice based on open data in the Camden Open Data Hub. They will iterate the notice through at least 2 rounds of user testing with a range of users, and with accessibility testing and audit.

2. Reusable code for other Local Planning Authorities (LPAs)
They will use their community of interest and partners to test and adopt the notice, targeting adoption by two partners. They will publish the code, guidance and documentation for the notice in the open.

3. Future planning metrics
They will produce a set of non-technical standards for notice data and define metrics that can be used for a future planning notice, focusing on major developments.

May 2021

The project is due to start the next phase of delivery in May 2021.