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Leading the way with digital pathfinders

To support the development of the digital strategy for Planning and help address the urgent requirement for digital ways of working, the Scottish Government has commissioned three Pathfinder explorations.

From the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak and resultant need for physical distancing, it was clear that a number of planning process requirements placed on planning authorities and other stakeholders were being impacted. Realigning the Digital Strategy for Planning has been a necessity to ensure resources are well placed to respond to immediate needs and focus on digital resilience as a key element of Scotland's economic recovery.

Recognising known challenges and issues around the development of data standards across multiple organisations, the Data Pathfinder has been awarded jointly to the Improvement Service and British Geological Survey to develop a clear and comprehensive understanding of data within the current planning system as a solid and sustainable foundation for a future planning system.

The PlanTech Pathfinder, awarded to Scottish Futures Trust, examines the current state of innovation in the digital planning sector, and the potential for market solutions to address priority challenges such as validating planning applications.

The Technology Landscape Pathfinder will develop a clear picture of how ready local government is to adopt new technology by looking at current innovation and best practice in relation to planning. It will also provide a better understanding of the key technical challenges local authorities may face in adopting the digital strategy, for example moving to the cloud. This pathfinder, awarded to Local Government Digital Office, will inform the Digital Planning Landscape Review by clarifying the current planning business functions and technical platforms being used by Councils.

“The Pathfinder explorations build on evidence from user research, analysis and existing thinking to inform and strengthen the high-level technical architecture being developed for the Digital Strategy for Planning. The pathfinders will support preparations for delivery of the Digital Transformation programme, so we’re in a strong position once work gets underway. Each pathfinder will run for a number of months during Summer 2020 with final reports and recommendations being made late summer.”

 Liz Pringle, Head of Digital Planning, Scottish Government

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