Fylde Borough Council has gone live with MasterGov, DEF Software’s suite of planning tools, in order to streamline the management of planning applications across the organisation and increase useability for internal staff, and for citizens needing to access local planning information.
Designed to govern the full life-cycle of the planning process, the suite of solutions supports the whole planning process from initial application management through to appeals and enforcement. In addition, Fylde is utilising the building control function from submission through to production of the final certificate, as well as concepts and inspections for plots. The Land Charges function provides officers the tools needed to complete essential searches, speeding up the process significantly.
This suite of modules is being used by planning officers to download applications from the Planning Portal and manage applications from that point onwards. The senior officers are using it to issue planning decisions and compile committee agendas, and the enforcement team are utilising it to monitor the progression of cases. The management of appeals has also been made more efficient.
As a result of MasterGov, staff will see the time spent grappling with legacy software drop, allowing applications to be processed and followed through more efficiently. In addition, customers will benefit from a simpler online system which is easier to use both for accessing current applications and to submit applications through. With a modernised planning system, data security is also now more robust, reducing the risk to sensitive information.
Andrew Stell, Development Manager at Fylde Borough Council commented on the new system: “I think the main benefit that we’ve seen from MasterGov is that it is much more flexible than our previous system. It allows us to be able to adapt it to our needs, without a qualification in computer science to be able to do anything. I think that’s going to be of real benefit to us in responding to the changes in legislation that will inevitably come, and also to introduce our own process improvements.”
Previously, the Council had primarily been using software systems which had reached end of life, and migration to a new system would maintain high levels of data security by giving staff the modern tools they needed to efficiently process applications.
Graeme Cooke, Commercial Director at DEF Software added: “We are pleased that we’ve been able to support Fylde Borough Council in making this step in its digital journey. Supporting the team every step of the way and making sure our software is user-friendly is our top priority, and we are excited to see the team flourish while using a more efficient system.”
The contract began in early 2021, with work beginning in October 2021. All selected modules of the MasterGov suite are now live.
Stell concluded: “DEF has given us a lot of support throughout the process. The technical support has been great and they have been receptive to emails and resolved issues very quickly. This was the right opportunity at the right time, with solutions that help us meet our wider digital objectives as a local authority.”