Skip to main content

Assessing Applications

An 'assessing application' prototype has been designed by the Scottish Government's Digital Planning team, created to support Scotland's Digital Strategy for Planning

Planners assessing applications

This prototype has been developed to show how a future digital service could assist planners in assessing applications. It is based around having key data easily accessible for planners, and streamlining the assessment process where possible using digital technologies. These issues have been highlighted in our user research.

Who is it for:

  • Planning authorities

What it does:

  • Shows the potential to simplify the application process for planning authorities.
  • Shows an example of opportunities to improve efficiency in the assessment process, and minimise time spent chasing documents, manually validating applications, and rejecting invalid applications.

Informed by:

  • User research
  • eDevelopment service

These prototypes help to illustrate what change could look like. What ultimately is developed could look very different but they give an early opportunity to explore the future of planning.


Key features of the prototype:

  • Applications are pre-validated at the point of applying
    Shows the potential for submitted planning applications to have already undergone an initial validation check based on geospatial policy.
  • Areas of potential concern are highlighted to aid assessment
    Demonstrates the potential for using shared third-party data and geospatial policy could highlight potential issues with a development early, to aid planners, consultees and applicants alike.
  • Easily reconciled and tracked payments
    Planners could easily check that payments have been made, and when and how they were paid.
  • Comment and clarify on specific questions or documents
    Greater collaboration with applicants on specific parts of an application could assist and help streamline the process. For example, by making comments or asking questions within the application itself, much like you would when commenting on a document in a shared work space.

Document viewer

Key features of the prototype:

  • Organised documents
    Planners could better see what documents have been submitted, what each document relates to, and what version they are.
  • Compare documents
    Shows a scenario where two documents could be compared with each other in a split view.
  • Comment and request documents
    A planner could add comments in specific areas of a document to clarify points, ask questions, or simply to make notes. This could be expanded to share these with the applicant or internal colleagues, and potentially, to request more information within the application itself.

Location information

Key features of the prototype:

  • All the information at your fingertips
    Having access to a wide range of shared data could assist planners in an assessment.
  • Areas of contention are marked to aid assessment
    The system itself could help, for example, by identifying areas that planners may need to know about for their assessment (i.e. flood risk zones, listed buildings, etc.).
  • Data driven impact assessments
    Planners can use available data to help understand the impact an application would have on an area for example, which schools are nearby, what roads could be impacted or advance sun simulation to understand shadows.

Links to development planning

Key features of the prototype:

  • Links to Local Development Plan
    Demonstrates the potential for digitally written geospatial policy to help planners with their assessment.
  • Relevant Local Development Plan policy information
    Easy access to policy information in one place to assist planners in their assessment tasks, and helping to manage their time.
  • Knowledge on the surrounding area
    Shows a scenario where a planner could quickly see nearby developments in progress or planned for the future.
  • Data driven impact assessments
    Better access to relevant data to help planners understand the impact an application may have; for example, effects on schools, roads, or potentially in the future, to identify issues such as sun simulation to understand shadows.


Key features of the prototype:

  • Provide recommendation with trackable conditions
    Once a decision has been made, a planner could track progress of the application; including any conditions which may apply.
  • Auto report of handling
    Reports could be automatically generated directly within the system.
  • Professional collaboration
    Third party consultees could be invited into an application to seek their input on it, much like you could with any shared cloud document service.

Draft NPF4 logo

National Planning Framework 4

Read the adopted NPF4 on

Last Updated: 07 Jun 2023