Birmingham City Council has been named as one of the best local planning authorities (LPAs) in the country for the efficient way it deals with online planning applications.
The authority has been awarded Smarter Planning Champion status by the Planning Portal, the Governmentâ€™s online planning resource for England and Wales. Birmingham is the 66th LPA out of 360 to achieve this prestigious accolade.
The award comes on the strength of positive feedback from planning agents, with frequent praise for the speed with which Birmingham validates applications compared to other LPAs in the region.
This is because of how Birminghamâ€™s planning and regeneration department is changing the way it works, such as starting to communicate with applicants and agents electronically throughout the decision making process, including requesting additional information, acknowledgement, registration, consultation and decision notes.
Birmingham has also minimised its reliance on printed case files, instead using electronic files as case files, validating applications onscreen, enabling planning officers to access electronic case files remotely and using tablet devices at planning committee meetings.
Councillor Mike Sharpe, chair of the city councilâ€™s planning committee, said: â€œI am delighted that Birmingham has been recognised as one of the best local planning authorities in the country for dealing with planning applications electronically.
â€œThe vast majority of people now submit planning applications online and we know from feedback that this is because they feel confident that we will process them effectively and efficiently due to the way we work.
â€œThis award is fantastic recognition for Birmingham City Council, which has one of the largest and busiest planning departments in England and Wales.â€
Birmingham City Council deals with approximately 7,600 planning applications each year. Since October 2013, the authority has seen a 26 per cent increase in online submissions.