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The future of eDevelopment

04th October 2021

The eDevelopment service, a cornerstone of the current planning service and building block for the digital transformation, recently celebrated it's 5th birthday. We recently had a chance to catch up with Jamie Byfield, eDevelopment Operations Lead, to discuss what the future holds for the service, and plans for it's further development. 

The following is an edited transcript of our interview with Jamie. 

"What does the future hold for the eDevelopment Service?"

After recently celebrating our 5th birthday and seeing the 1 millionth submission made online, we’re now entering a transitional period for the service.

Our long-term ambition is to replace the eDevelopment service with a new, more ambitious digital planning service. This will allow people to continue to submit their planning applications online, and also do a lot more.

We’re digitising the entire planning system for Scotland – to ultimately connect people with their places, closely meet the needs of planners and other professionals working with the planning system, communities and general members of the public too.

What does this actually mean for eDevelopment though?

  • Until a new system is in place, eDevelopment isn’t going anywhere.
  • In the short term, we’ll be further streamlining the service and future-proofing it – making sure it continues to operate efficiently and effectively until new services are online.

"How long will you continue to provide the current service and what support will you provide?"

The short answer is for as long as it’s in use.

That means we’ll continue to apply maintenance upgrades to the current service, and fix any bugs or issues just as we have done over the last 5 years.

Our Support Desk service will also continue to operate alongside the current service, albeit with a few tweaks and changes to improve how we provide support for our users and partners.

Once a new future service is up and running, I’d expect that our Support Desk will shift to providing support and assistance to users of that service.

"Will there be any new features added to eDevelopment?"

Our focus will be ensuring that the service continues to run efficiently.

In the medium-term, we’ll be focusing on delivering improvements for the current service that can also be used in a future service; (e.g. exploring options for a single payment system and fee calculator). We’ll be open about our plans going forward and will keep our stakeholders updated on these as we go.

"What have we learned from the current service, and how are we using this information to help development of the next one?"

We’ve kept a Service Improvement Log since the service was first launched in 2016. This has helped us gather feedback on the service as it’s evolved, and allowed us to capture issues and opportunities, which has directly informed the upgrades that we’ve delivered so far.

Alongside our user research work, and with the input of service users, planners and professionals, the log has also played a key role in informing our thinking around a future service. This will continue as we move forward, with more opportunities on the horizon for our stakeholders and partners to have their say on what we do next.

"How can people get in touch with ideas about the current service or the development of the next one?"

We’re happy to speak to anyone that has an idea or suggestion to improve Scotland’s Planning and BStds systems.

If you’d like to submit any feedback contact us by the usual means –  eDevelopment@gov.scot or DM us on twitter @eDevelopmentSG.