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Scotland's Digital Strategy for Planning

The Scottish Government has been exploring how data and technology could be used to transform the Scottish planning system, and put data at the heart of decisions that create and shape great places in Scotland.

We’ve now reached a key milestone in this work and have published the strategy on

Transforming Places Together: Scotland’s Digital Strategy for Planning.

For Scotland to have a world leading digital planning system that helps connect people with their places to deliver a prosperous, green and fair country
The Vision, Transforming Places Together: A Digital Strategy for Planning

Our strategy

Transforming Places Together lays the foundation for a user-centric transformation of the Scottish planning system, based upon a detailed period of research and stakeholder engagement.

The strategy is ambitious. It sets out our vision to create a world leading planning system and a set of key missions to deliver it. These missions are centred on the themes of data, digital technologies and services, ways of working, people and innovation that together will have a transformative impact on planning in Scotland.

Importantly, the strategy sets out opportunities for delivering positive impacts, outcomes and benefits not just for the planning sector, but for Scotland as a whole.

And finally, it outlines the guiding principles that govern how we will deliver these.

Opportunities in transforming

The strategy provides an overview of the high-level benefits that this programme can help to realise for the people and places across Scotland. These potential benefits cut across policy areas and show the wide-ranging impact which planning has on our economy, infrastructure, environment and places.

Its development was informed by a suite of research projects undertaken by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) for the Scottish Government on the potential socio-economic benefits of a digitally transformed planning system.

These include:

  • A summary document setting out the key findings across the papers.
  • An economic impact analysis, which was undertaken by KPMG, to assess the potential efficiencies that could be provided from a digital planning service.
  • A user and customer impact analysis setting out the benefits for planning authorities, planning applicants and communities.
  • A policy impact analysis setting out the range of policy ambitions that rely upon a digital planning service.
  • Case studies written by KPMG, analysing the impact that digital planning could have on Scottish Government aspirations on its net zero carbon targets, in tackling health inequalities and as part of post Covid-19 recovery.

What happens next

The strategy sets out ambitious five year goals to deliver this vision alongside immediate actions that we will take over the next 18-24 months. The immediate actions will include a mixture of quick-wins that will build on the success of the existing eDevelopment service, whilst also building the foundations for the large-scale transformation of which will take place in the longer-term.

In early 2021, we’ll publish more about our Digital Transformation Programme which will elaborate further as the next phase of the programme begins.

Last Updated: 23 Dec 2020