DD2152 London Plan consultation response system

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Date signed: 
08 August 2017
Decision by: 
Mark Kleinman (past staff), Assistant Director of Economic and Business Policy

Executive summary

This DD asks for approval to procure a consultancy to develop a public facing IT system to facilitate, record and analyse online responses to the consultation draft London Plan, to be published in late November 2017.



That the Executive Director of Development, Enterprise & Environment approves:

1.    Expenditure of up to £90,000 for:

•    the development of a consultation response system to facilitate, record and analyse online responses to the consultation draft London Plan
•    integration of the consultation response system with the GLA’s website 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1    The draft London Plan will go out for public consultation from the end of November 2017 to the end of February 2018 and the London Plan team will need an effective system to capture and analyse the responses.

1.2    For previous London Plan consultations, Excel spreadsheets were used to capture and analyse the consultation responses, except for the full review of the draft Plan in 2009 when an Access database was used.  The spreadsheet approach allows consultation responses to be fully captured, but requires responses to be entered manually.  This is very resource intensive as it involves a substantial amount of officer time for analysing and coding responses.  The Access database is similarly resource intensive but in any event is no longer fit for purpose as it is no longer supported by GLA software.

1.3    The proposed new consultation response system will enable respondents to make comments online, although those respondents who prefer to submit their comments by letter or email will still be able to do so.  Overall, the process of capturing responses will be far less resource intensive in terms of officer time required. 

1.4    The London Plan is part of the national planning system and will be subject to a formal, independent, examination in public (EiP) which, it is anticipated, will be held in late summer/autumn 2018.  In addition to the efficiencies outlined above, an effective response handling system will assist with the smooth running of the overall EiP process.  

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1    To create a new consultation response system for the draft London Plan, either from scratch or by converting the existing Access database. The new system will use technologies compliant with the GLA’s technical and development standards. 

2.2    To create web pages for the consultation draft London Plan in a similar format to the current London Plan web pages, but with enhanced functionality.

2.3    To develop functionality to allow the submission of comments on either individual policies, subject areas or to the document as a whole from the web pages to be created for the consultation draft London Plan.  This will include:

•    a user registration and login process so respondents can be formally identified and invited to attend the Examination in Public by the inspector if appropriate
•    a facility to allow multiple internal users to access and edit the data concurrently
•    a facility to allow members of the public to view selected details of the comments received once the consultation has closed
•    update tables and lookup values to match the policies, policy areas and structure of the Plan
•    a comprehensive search/interrogation function within the database for internal users

Equality comments

3.1    The development of the consultation response system and public interface is aimed at the efficient and effective capture and analysis of responses from the public consultation on the draft London Plan.  

3.2    The draft London Plan is itself subject to an Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA) which includes an Equalities Impact Assessment (EqIA).

Other considerations

Key risks and issues 
4.1    If the proposed system is not developed then alternative, less effective means will be needed to capture, record and analyse consultation responses to the draft London Plan.  This may significantly delay the start of the EiP in 2018 and put at risk the overall London Plan programme. 

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities
4.2    The London Plan is the Mayor’s Spatial Development Strategy for Greater London and is the land use/spatial framework for all the other Mayoral strategies

Impact assessments and consultations
4.3    As above – the London Plan will be subject to an IIA, including EqIA.  The proposed system is for capturing and recording consultation responses to the draft London Plan.

Financial comments

5.1    Approval is being sought for expenditure of up to £90,000 for an IT development consultant to develop an IT system to facilitate, record and analyse online responses to the consultation draft London Plan.  The costs will be funded from the 2017-18 London Plan Programme budget.


Planned delivery approach and next steps

6.1    To ensure the proposed London Plan consultation response system is fully operational for the start of the draft London Plan consultation period (late November 2017), the following milestones will need to be met:
•    develop trial system    August 2017
•    consult TG/web team on connection of trial system    August 2017
•    testing period    September-October 2017
•    complete public version (online tool)    October 2017
•    complete internal version    November 2017
•    ongoing support (if required)    November 2017 – March 2018




July-August 2017

delivery start date

August 2017

main milestones (see above)

August-November 2017

delivery end date

March 2018


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