Back Office Planning System (BOPS)

BOPS is an application handling and document management system for local authority planning teams. It centralises the key functions needed to assess and determine a planning application into one system.

Driven by the need for a better back-office planning system

In 2019, a group of forward-thinking councils got together with the aim of creating a user-centered back-office planning system that would make planning data and records easily accessible, increase efficiency across the planning application process, and fit the needs of Planning Officers. The output of this collaboration is BOPS.

Designed by planners, for planners

BOPS is a back-office planning system that has been co-designed and tested with planners. Unlike other existing back-office systems which can be slow, difficult to use, and involve too many manual admin tasks, BOPS provides a seamless and intuitive user experience that simply shows planners the right information they need at the right time. This reduces noise for planners and means they have more time to focus on what they want to do – planning.

One simple system that can meet all a planner’s needs

Planners can use BOPS to validate and assess an application, print a site notice, carry out consultations and send letters to neighbours. The BOPS applicant module also provides an interface for applicants to interact with councils about their application in real-time, providing any further information directly into the system.

“BOPS allows us to provide our planning teams with software that is accessible and transparent. This leads to a reduction in time spent on administrative and manual processes.”

Juliet Seymour, Head of Policy, Building Control & the Historic Environment, Southwark Council

Improving planning services

BOPS has been designed so it can be adapted for future needs, including changing monitoring requirements and changes to planning services. BOPS makes planning data easily accessible and reporting functions are built-in, so that planners can spend less time searching for and requesting information.

A scalable system undergoing rapid development and user testing

BOPS can currently be used to fully process Lawful Development Certificates and Prior Approvals. The full Householder application process is on track to be delivered by December 2023. All other application types are due to be completed by May 2024.

BOPS can currently accept applications from PlanX, and will be able to receive applications from the Planning Portal in the near future.

BOPS working group

BOPS is designed and developed collaboratively by Unboxed consultants and partner councils. Development is funded by DLUHC’s Digital Planning Programme.

“This is such a fantastic opportunity to design a bespoke product that actually meets the needs of the users – a system for Planning, designed by Planners.”

Ruth Saunders, Director of Communities, Gloucester City Council

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