What we do
Our services are designed to meet user needs, ensure security, and promote openness, all while adhering to modern technology standards. We're creating flexible software with better access to underlying planning data, allowing information to move seamlessly and helping to automate routine processes.
Future legislation seeks to encourage this move to more modular technology.
“It was so different as a planner to go from being asked 'does this work?' to 'what do you actually want out of this software?'”
Janine, Planning Business Support Officer, Dacorum Borough Council
How we work
The Open Digital Planning (ODP) community is made up of council officers, content writers, developers and user research experts from 28 local councils, digital agencies and central government.
We work in small product teams that take part in research, design and testing activities. Depending on their level of involvement councils may also prioritise the features that are built and help direct the overall strategy for ODP.
Council partners are also responsible for the day-to-day running of the services in their local authorities.
We use the collective wisdom of council officers with a deep knowledge of local planning so that our products better meet the needs of council planning teams.
Our work is prioritised into two-week sprints and when we reach a milestone we test and release. In this way, we continuously improve our products. Some of our best thinking takes place in retrospective meetings - spaces for reflection that ensure we stay critical.
What we mean by 'Open' Digital Planning
The source code underpinning our work is open by default. The code is freely available to software developers to reuse and edit. Where features in our products are of interest to others, reusing our code can save effort and support the improvement of services across the planning software market.
Working in the open
We make our documents, presentations, and research publicly viewable so that others can benefit from our findings. Our monthly Show-and-Tells are open to all and allow us to share our progress with a wider audience.
We want to see a plug-and-play ecosystem of digital planning services that 'just work'. Integrations between different systems should be straightforward, and based on openly published standards and documentation, so that councils have more choice in the software they use.
All ODP partners are committed to the five principles of the Local Digital Declaration, an ambition for the future of local government services.
We believe councils should be at the heart of how local services are designed, and we benefit from working together to solve shared challenges, supporting and learning from each other as we go.
Our products are designed with more than just our project partners in mind. By bringing in multiple viewpoints we are creating services that work for everyone.