DLUHC Digital Planning Innovation Fund and the opportunity for Local Planning Authorities

The government has announced the joining together of two programmes of work: the digital planning improvement fund and the proptech innovation fund. It is a fixed grant amount, ringfenced for a defined set of improvement activities:

  • Identified training needs
  • Delivering digital planning improvements
  • Preparing for legislative changes (for example relating to the now in force Levelling Up and Regeneration Bill), and
  • Improving services.

Who is it for?

Local Planning Authorities (the planning departments of Local Authorities.)

What is the vision?

The funding is designed to help create a “new, more modular, software landscape” which will:

  • encourage digital innovation, and
  • provide access to underlying data.

The intention is that this will “help automate routine processes” making support faster, and allow for “more certain decision-making”

What is the purpose of the funds?

It is designed to provide funding for local planning authorities that want to adopt modern planning practices by improving:

  • Planning data
  • Digital capabilities
  • Development management software

What are the themes?

Theme 1: land assessment, viability and feasibility

Theme 2: land assessment, small sites

Theme 3: land assessment, land and site assembly

Theme 4: land assessment, wildcard

Theme 5: digital citizen engagement - visualisation

What should applicants consider?

  • They should demonstrate awareness of what has already been achieved in the PropTech Innovation Fund
  • Explore the Fund’s focus on leveraging existing products in the market and working with suppliers to inform tech capabilities. This is where Diagonal can support.
  • Understand the importance of commitment to establishing a baseline and benchmark data to measure success
  • Demonstrate, where relevant, welcoming in partners and industry allies as project enablers

DLUHC includes a number of examples of how working with collaborators might be beneficial including:

  • Adopting and implementing off-the-shelf digital products. As noted above, this may include a budget for some digital enhancements and product development to evolve existing products.
  • Analysis, management and integration of data sets to inform assessment/modelling.
  • Enabling local authority staff time to resource each pilot, including project engagement and collaboration with PropTech Innovation Fund Round 4 partners, suppliers and DLUHC stakeholders.
  • Training and capacity building across local authority teams to support longer term adoption and integration of digital tools and services.
  • DLUHC’s expectation is that projects will run for a maximum of 9 to 12 months, concluding by December 2024.

NB the fund is not for:

  • Speculative projects
  • Tailored grant amounts
  • Projects with current or prospective software providers
  • Digitisation of documents
  • Software licences or subscriptions
  • Hardware

When are successful applications announced?

January-February 2024.

How much is available?

  • Individual local authorities can apply for up to £85,000
  • Joint local authority projects can apply for up to £225,000

Visit the DLUHC website for information on how to apply.

Start the conversation with us and find out more: hello@diagonal.works


October 2023