Planning and Regulatory Services Online (PARSOL) national project, are
systems suppliers, functionality and linkages, the use of ICT for a range of
purposes, public information services, data capture, data transfer and
whether authorities see themselves as leaders in the use of ICT.
* Baseline survey results here.
The Planning and Regulatory Services On-line (PARSOL) project has been set up in order to assist local authorities with the implementation of e-planning and regulatory services as part of the government's ongoing commitment to the creation of local e-government services by 2005 (BVPI 157).
It is a collaboration of over 40 different agencies, led by a consortium of eight authorities, chaired by Ian Thompson (Wandsworth LBC town planner) and financed through the ODPM. Project members and contributors include the Planning Portal, the Royal Town Planning Institute, Planning Officers' Society, Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, LACORS, IDeA, Health and Safety Executive, Environment Agency, London Fire Brigade, Office of the E-Envoy and it is supported by relevant private sector suppliers.
Around 80% of respondents to a major survey of local authorities planning, regulatory and ICT services were either very or fairly confident of meeting the 2005 target for the e-delivery of council services. However only around 20% were very confident (building control 24% very confident). Around 18% of respondents were either Not very or not at all confident of meeting the target with ICT respondents had the highest level who indicated not at all confident (4.5%).
In addition to questions relating to meeting the 2005 target for e-delivery the survey also provides information on ICT strategies, core systems suppliers, functionality and linkages, the use of ICT for a range of purposes, public information services, data capture, data transfer and whether authorities see themselves as leaders in the use of ICT.
The main barriers to meeting the 2005 target were seen as insufficient staff resources (around 65%) and inadequate financial resources (around 55%). These were by far the most frequently mentioned barriers by all the service areas. Trading standards was the only service to rate lack of financial resources higher than staff resources. The importance of other barriers varied from service to service, however key software not meeting requirements was indicated by over 20% of respondents in every service area. One of the main differences between services was that only 7% of ICT respondents saw inadequate hardware as a barrier to e-implementation compared to 18% or more for all the other service areas.
The results of the survey are already feeding into PARSOL's work on best practice in the field of e-planning and regulatory services. This in turn will be used to develop standards for local authorities e-planning services and toolkits for the implementation of e-services across the regulatory services.
The results of the baseline survey compliment the results of a survey of local authority planning websites undertaken by Peter Pendleton Associates, already available on the PARSOL website. This indicated council's progress in delivering 21 key e-planning services. The survey indicated that whilst a number of councils are making good progress in the delivery of e-planning services, many still have to provide basic services online. The PARSOL project should provide a very useful help to those authorities rising to meet the e-government challenge, together with systems demonstrating the ability to extend e-service delivery to new areas.
Martin Howell Leader Stream 3 (IT and Technical Infrastructure) PARSOL