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Planning Advisory Service (PAS)
Open group | Started - July 2012 | Last activity - Yesterday

Planning software systems

Michael Martin, modified 1 Year ago.

Planning software systems

New Member Posts: 13 Join Date: 14/11/16 Recent Posts

We are looking into replacing our current database management, document management and mapping systems.

I would be interested to know which systems other Councils are using, what works well, what could be improved upon, any pitfalls and lessons learnt please.

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

Hans Bray, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Planning software systems

Enthusiast Posts: 38 Join Date: 23/09/19 Recent Posts

We use MasterGov. It integrates well with Esri/ArcGIS. The document management is integrated. Has good notification for case officers and workflow (which we haven't implemented yet). Very configurable. Good template system for letters etc. It also has modules for Enforcement, Site Monitoring, Appeals, Land Charges etc  

The Planning Portal import needs improving (cannot import amends), but I understand that is being worked on this year. 

What are you currently using?

Michael Martin, modified 1 Year ago.

RE: Planning software systems

New Member Posts: 13 Join Date: 14/11/16 Recent Posts

Hello Hans,

We currently use IDOX (Acolaid, DMS) and GIS.

Chris Dowell, modified 12 Months ago.

RE: Planning software systems

New Member Posts: 9 Join Date: 19/10/11 Recent Posts

We have recently implemented iDOX cloud, which has been disapointing compared to the 'vision' we were sold,  although the officers quite like some of the functionality. iDOX really need to do some serious development work before it would be something that we could recommend.

 

Amanda McKenzie, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: Planning software systems

New Member Posts: 3 Join Date: 15/08/18 Recent Posts
Chris Dowell:

We have recently implemented iDOX cloud, which has been disapointing compared to the 'vision' we were sold,  although the officers quite like some of the functionality. iDOX really need to do some serious development work before it would be something that we could recommend.

 

Can I ask why you don't recomment IDOX cloud as we are in the process of moving over to this?

 

 

 

 

Chris Dowell, modified 17 Days ago.

RE: Planning software systems

New Member Posts: 9 Join Date: 19/10/11 Recent Posts

Hi, 

I think at the time i posted this i had just completed the transition which was difficult and raised some issues with the way the implementation was completed by Idox, so i was probably at a low point when i posted.

Talking to other authorities that are going through the process now, implementation has improved as idox gain experience of the product although they are still have some problems.

There are parts of the product that work well. Officers don't complain about using it too much and it move applications through a defined process in a consistent manner. It is not very flexible and you have to make sure that your process fits the system and you can get lost in work arounds if you try to take a different path. 

There are however some issues that need to be addressed. Issues around reporting, GIS intergration have still to be resolved and templates and communications are difficult to administer. My opinion from working with idox is that progress is slow getting anything resolved and if its 'complicated' it is put off until you stop asking for it (same as other suppliers really). 

That said after 18 months of using the system it hasn't failed or fallen over and its probably as good/poor as anything else on the market. But for all the effort that we invested in getting the system implemented that seems like a very small 'win'.

Hope that helps

Chris

 

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Jonathan Robinson, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Planning software systems

New Member Posts: 4 Join Date: 20/07/17 Recent Posts

Cumbria County, pre-reorganisation, were using the County Module of DEF MasterGov and will be until the Minerals and Waste Planning function has been split into the two successor authorities (Cumberland/Westmorland & Furness). Westmorland & Furness are currently implementing MasterGov too, expected to be live by the Autumn when migration and training are complete. When implementing for Cumbria County, getting the migraition right from our previous supplier (Atrium) was critical and also being prepared to adapt processes to fit the software to avoid bespoke development unless absolutely necessary (i.e. do it like others have been doing it before but with the ability to influence future development/best practice for the benefit of all of their clients). At the County, for the modules where GIS is linked QGIS has been used and seems to be working OK, although it had not been implemented for planning yet. W&F will be using QGIS for planning.

Training and particularly early 'expert' user training (not just for one or two people) is critical to make sure you get the best out of the system, making sure that you take advantage of as much of the workflow and automation as early as possible in my view and is a lesson learnt for me at least as staff changes can quickly dilute the expertise and knowledge of configuration options and possibilities. The 'hive mind' opportunities obviously increase with the number of expert minds and disciplines.

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Tim Burkinshaw, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Planning software systems

New Member Posts: 2 Join Date: 21/10/16 Recent Posts

Hi, 

in North Yorkshire we have just formed a new Unitary from a county and seven districts. The legacy systems are still in place - county system MasterGov, for minerals and waste etc, all the lower tier LPAs on IDOX Uniform I believe.. I don't think any options have been investigated yet re aligning them.

I'm an LPA ecologist not a planner, so not a 'backoffice' user but with the arrival of BNG in November I'm concerned that systems need to handle different document formats and generally act as an audit trail for the 30year BNG obligations. GIS files, biodiversity Metrics on macro enabled spreadsheets, maintenance and monitoring reqmts, habitat plans secured by s106 and conservation covenenants as well as enforcement of the BNG delivery.

Does this make a difference to the choice of system and its functionality?

I beleive two of our districts use Exacom too - for tracking S106 and CIL but I know very little about it. Would be very interested in other's thoughts.

Tim, BNG Officer, North Yorks Council

Hans Bray, modified 11 Months ago.

RE: Planning software systems

Enthusiast Posts: 38 Join Date: 23/09/19 Recent Posts

Hi Tim,

I realise you said the back office is not your area, but do pass onto those that may be thinking about this that Dorset Council went unitary and aligned all their planning systems onto MasterGov over the last couple of years, if they need someone to talk to/pick brains of smiley

MasterGov had their annual User Group meeting last week and demoed the new BNG aspects they are currently building... Basically imports the calculator spreadsheet into the planning record and then, as I understand it, allows it to be tracked in the Site Monitoring module after permission granted. 

BNG is not my area, so I don't know whether it's what is required - I am sending some screenshots to our Ecologist.

Jovo Radusin, modified 9 Months ago.

RE: Planning software systems

New Member Post: 1 Join Date: 14/12/15 Recent Posts

Just to throw in a twist, DEF Software Ltd in partnership with Telford & Wrekin Council are designing and building the next generation of planning and building control software to replace what is mainly dominated by aged legacy products.  It will be a web based solution with an anticipated go live Q4 2024.

David Davies, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: Planning software systems

New Member Posts: 8 Join Date: 19/11/18 Recent Posts

Hi all. I have been reading your discussion with interest and I have a related question about software systems for BNG. 

I work for Staffordshire Moorlands DC and High Peak BC and my Councils have been approached by a company called MYCELIA who provide a software package for tracking/monitoring the implementation of BNG within planning applications, for an annual fee. We are considering this software package. Have any other LPAs signed up to the MYCELIA software? If so what have your experiences been using the software? For any LPAs who have not done so, what processes have other Councils put in place to monitor the proper implementation of on-site/off-site BNG habitats by planning applicants? This could be internal systems, tracking spreadsheets, etc

Many thanks,

Dean Brunton, modified 22 Days ago.

RE: Planning software systems

Enthusiast Posts: 45 Join Date: 10/10/13 Recent Posts

Hi, we have had MYCLELIA for a for a couple of months now, our Ecologist is very happy with it - it is certainly making his life a lot easier.  It is also proving good at validation as the software can quickly scan and identify any issues in the BNG metric straight away and suggest valdation sentance to go back on.

michelle hurton, modified 18 Days ago.

RE: Planning software systems

New Member Posts: 3 Join Date: 17/09/18 Recent Posts

Hi

We are currently looking to replace our software from Idox Uniform to a web based system, we are in the very early stages therefore this discussion is very helpful to see what others are using and what they think about their systems. 

We (Durham County Council) have started to use MyCelia and whilst I'm not an ecologist it is very helpful for everyone not just the ecologists.  The way we are using it is that the planners upload the documents into the program, which is a simple drag and drop, they upload in seconds and automatically the program tells you if there are any issues with the metric, for example are they using the most up to date version and puts it all in an easy to read format that can be sent back to the developers within the invalid letters. 

The Ecologists are very happy with the system and the support network that you get afterwards appears to be very good to, although we have only had it for about a month but I would expect that would be there throughout its lifefime.

Michelle

 

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Chris Nash, modified 12 Days ago.

RE: Planning software systems

Enthusiast Posts: 39 Join Date: 11/08/13 Recent Posts

We're in a fairly advanced stage of migrating to Arcus Built Environment for DM, Enforcement, Appeals, Building Control and Land Charges. It's a completely cloud based solution built on the Salesforce platform, and totally 'malleable' to suit the workflows, processes and layouts/appearance you desire for your particular LPA. It is an integrated database and DMS solution, integrating through APIs to things like the Portal connector and to GIS (we're also moving from Astun to StatMap corporately, and this isn't posing a concern for the project either).

Michael Lally, modified 12 Days ago.

RE: Planning software systems

New Member Post: 1 Join Date: 09/08/23 Recent Posts

Hi

 

In Liverpool we have Tascomi / Idox Cloud. We would not recommend it.

 

Mike

Bristol City Council Planning, modified 12 Days ago.

RE: Planning software systems

New Member Posts: 6 Join Date: 04/10/21 Recent Posts

I understand DLUHC are developing a Planning software called Back Office Planning System 'BOPS', which looks like the standard govt web based software. It's currently in development with opted-in LAs through Open Digi Planning project. It may be a future alternative but not live yet. I'd be interetsed to hear if anyone has experience with it.

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Jonathan Robinson, modified 12 Days ago.

RE: Planning software systems

New Member Posts: 4 Join Date: 20/07/17 Recent Posts

I would be interested to hear about BOPS too. Particularly integration with existing systems.