The UK Planning Inspectorate is set to launch a new online appeal service with an objective to give better ease of use and clarity of case progress to users.
The agency will be launching the service initially for certain pilot cases at the end of July 2019. Eventually, the online appeal service will replace the Appeals Casework Portal, which is the agency’s existing appeals platform.
The Planning Inspectorate claims that the new portal will provide an intuitive layout, clearer guidance, and better tracking of appeals.
The agency is said to have closely collaborated with users and the Government Digital Service (GDS) to make sure the service complies with the highest standards across government.
Currently, the new online appeal service is in advanced stages of testing and will be refined after being used for the pilot cases prior to its wider launch.
The Planning Inspectorate said that the pilot will be confined to appeals of a select type against certain local planning authorities in East Sussex, Kent and West Sussex. The agency said that at this stage, only planning appeals after the written representation procedure will be selected in the trial and going forward, it expects to introduce the new service to other types of cases.
According to the agency, users can expect easier submission of their appeals, and questionnaires from local planning authorities from the new online appeal service.
The new portal will enable users to track the progress of their appeals and also check online documentation.
For organisations, the portal will allow creation of organisation-wide accounts. This feature will allow multiple people to access and work on cases, thereby giving space for annual leave and making busy workloads easier.
The online appeal service will come with electronic reminders for deadlines, which will make sure that all parties are informed of their expected timescales.
Planning Inspectorate product manager Tom Warth said: “The new online service represents a complete redesign of the way we receive appeals and how users interact with us. A key goal for the new portal is to ensure the appeals we receive are valid on submission thereby reducing the number of incomplete cases we currently handle that require valuable time and effort to resolve.
“We have designed the new portal so that we receive a valid appeal every time and to ensure the service is simple to use.”