Awarded to Atkins Limited

Start date: Monday 25 March 2019
Value: £77,950
Company size: large
Greater London Authority

GLA Development Information Database

13 Incomplete applications

11 SME, 2 large

22 Completed applications

19 SME, 3 large

Important dates

Thursday 21 February 2019
Deadline for asking questions
Thursday 28 February 2019 at 11:59pm GMT
Closing date for applications
Thursday 7 March 2019 at 11:59pm GMT


Summary of the work
Creation of a minimum viable product for a digital service to enable the monitoring of development in London (in the first instance covering 35 Local Planning Authorities (LPAs), and Plymouth, South Hams and West Devon (in another single instance).

RfP can be viewed here (info only at this stage):
Latest start date
Friday 29 March 2019
Expected contract length
Upto 5 months
Organisation the work is for
Greater London Authority
Budget range
Maximum £80K (ex VAT) for the project, followed by (optional) additional support and maintenance costs for the live service

About the work

Why the work is being done
London Development Database was established in 2004 to monitor the spatial development of London. Data on planning applications, commencements/completions hitherto has been collected manually and entered into a database through a portal.

Discovery research around this point concluded that this is labour intensive to operate, and data submitted can often be inaccurate.

Consequently, a new relevant, database is required to replace this process as part of a wider project to automate how development data is collected/distributed.

The process of monitoring commencements/completions is similarly laborious, and any database will need to be configured to search for datasets that would indicate commencements/completions.
Problem to be solved
There is a lack of consistently high quality up to date planning application data—including the pipeline of development— on which to base decisions and policy development.
Who the users are and what they need to do
• As a Local Planning Authority I need the data about planning applications to be uploaded easily
• As the GLA, I need to be able to receive all planning application data from 35 Local Planning Authorities automatically and to be able to access all of the data in the database to extract all data fields
• GLA: I need to be able to transfer all of the current data set since 2004 across to the database
• As a Local Planning Authority, I need to be able to provide all data on planning applications to the database automatically
Early market engagement
The GLA has announced this project publically through a launch event and a series of online posts.

The tender document is available to view here:

Please note only shortlisted Suppliers will be invited to complete the Request for Proposal. This is being shared for info only at this stage.
Any work that’s already been done
The GLA working with Plymouth City Council, Southwark, Hackney, Waltham Forest, West Devon and South Hams have been awarded funds through the Local Digital Fund to develop this product as an alpha product with the potential to become a national solution for holding and distributing development related information.

The database is central to a wider project around planning data and how it is used for infrastructure planning among other applications.

A discovery has been carried out establishing learning about the current data collection systems.

For more information there are a number of relevant blog posts:
Existing team
Chief Digital Officer for London
Head of Service
Product Owner
Delivery Manager
Subject Matter Experts representing GLA, Plymouth, South Hams, West Devon, Hackney, Waltham Forest, and Southwark Planning departments responsible for delivering improvements to working practices within their teams
Other in-house expertise can be drawn upon:
.NET developers, with expertise in developing API integrations
Delivery Manager
User Researcher
Current phase
Not started

Work setup

Address where the work will take place
In your offices, but must be able to attend bi-weekly meetings at Great London Authority, City Hall, Queens Walk, More London, SE1 2AA

And as required (at least twice) at

Plymouth City Council, Plymouth, PL1 3BJ
Working arrangements
We would like the work to be conducted as openly as possible, involving local authorities (via video) and Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government) (MHCLG) in Agile ceremonies, where possible. Therefore, whilst onsite at the GLA it would be beneficial to visit other local authorities involved in this project
Security clearance

Additional information

Additional terms and conditions

Skills and experience

Buyers will use the essential and nice-to-have skills and experience to help them evaluate suppliers’ technical competence.

Essential skills and experience
  • • Provide a team capable of development of databases with user interfaces and APIs
  • • Demonstrate a track-record of user-centred design and Agile approaches
  • • Have delivered a service that’s been assessed against a government service standard
  • • Demonstrate experience designing services for a wide range of digital skills and confidence
  • • Share their work freely and openly with the GLA and the wider community
  • • Be able to build or design a tool that’s so good, people prefer to use it
  • • Experience of developing design patterns that can be re-used for other services
  • • Be agnostic of any particular software, enabling us to consider a range of options to meet user needs
  • • Have experience developing open-source solutions
Nice-to-have skills and experience
  • • Knowledge of the planning system
  • • Experience of working in collaboration with a number of different organisations

How suppliers will be evaluated

How many suppliers to evaluate
Proposal criteria
  • • Understanding of user needs from the service
  • • Clarity of the approach
  • • Team structure, including skills, experiences and relevance of individuals
  • • Identification of risks and plan to mitigate them
  • Collaborative and Agile working
Cultural fit criteria
Collaborative and Agile working
Payment approach
Time and materials
Assessment methods
Written proposal
Evaluation weighting

Technical competence


Cultural fit




Questions asked by suppliers

1. • You'd like suppliers to complete the 100 word answers by 7th March at 11.59PM to then shortlist to 4 suppliers to complete the RFP.
• The RFP is released the same day (7th March).
• When will you let the suppliers know that they have been selected to complete the RFP?
The timetable contains a mistake - the shortlisting results will be communicated on 8th March.
2. From all the linked documents and posts it feels like there has only been a partial discovery for this project. For example, councils decided they'd like developers to enter the data instead of them, but I can't see evidence of research with developers, and no user needs are listed for developers. Has a full discovery been done, and can you provide more detail on it – or would you consider doing a top-up discovery as the first part of this next phase, before progressing to building an MVP?
A full discovery has been conducted to inform this procurement, which is a single element within a broader project to automate the flow of planning application data from submission portals, through borough back office systems, to the GLA, and out to the public.
This procurement focuses only on the portion of the process where borough information passes to the GLA. The rest of the process is being addressed separately.
For this reason, there are no user needs for developers listed, because they will not be interacting with this database. Developer needs are being addressed elsewhere in the larger project.
3. In your documents it's been identified that making this project work will provide savings of at least £3m per year, and that further savings are possible once this is shown to work and can be expanded. Given the number of stakeholders involved, the number of systems, and the complexity and risk that arise from that, how was the budget of only £80k arrived at for this crucial Alpha/MVP phase, when the value of getting this right would suggest it's worth investing in? Do you have a plan for tightly containing scope in this phase to achieve that?
This database is a single element within a broader-project to automate the flow of planning application data from submission portals, through borough back-office-systems, to GLA, and to the public. This procurement focuses on the process where borough information passes to GLA.
The £3m quoted refers to benefits that could be derived once the project in full is launched and additional improvements are made possible (like digitising neighbour notifications - would be a separate project ). GLA’s wider-budget for the project takes into account the complexities of addressing every element of the data-flow-process – not simply the creation of this database.
4. We assume the maximum budget of £80k and timelines for delivery for June 2019 is for the development of the MVP only?
This is correct – we expect an alpha product to be produced in this time that meets our needs as described here.
5. How do we expect the Planning Portal to work with the new development database? Will applicants input data in both the new database and the Planning Portal or will there be an integration requirement to the existing Planning Portal?
Planning Portal will not interact with the new database. The planning application data will flow from submission portals (including Planning Portal), to borough back office systems (of which there are nearly 10 different relevant providers), into the database you will create for the GLA, and out to the public. The database we are procuring here will need to receive data from all back office systems used by London boroughs and by Plymouth/West Devon/South Hams as well as any they are currently procuring.
6. Are there any plans for local authorities to update their current planning systems (including any other data management systems that we may need to interface with) during the contract period?
We are looking to set up a standard data extract from each back-office system that this database will receive.
Some local authorities are currently procuring new back office systems. These are included in the list of providers (under 10) that we will share with the successful supplier. The database we are procuring here will need to receive data from all back-office systems used by London boroughs and by Plymouth/West Devon/South Hams as well as any they are currently procuring.
7. What would you consider a 'minimum viable product' in terms of functionality?
The MVP would constitute a database that receives and collates information from all back office systems, and allows boroughs to edit information as needed.
Functionality above and beyond the MVP would include cross referencing data between back office systems and other data sources to validate its accuracy.
8. Can we use your place for One Agile Project Manager, and work dedicated and remotely?
Yes. Our preference is for remote working with regular in person meetings, however we can accommodate suppliers as necessary.