Hampshire County Council and DEF Software collaborate on new developer portal @DEFSoftware @hantsconnect

Hampshire County Council has gone live with a new first of type portal for developers, provided by DEF Software, a provider of planning, building control, highways and Local Land Charges software solutions.

The Developer Portal is a hub that sits on Hampshire County Council’s website allowing developers and their consultants to submit a complete Section 278 or 38 submission for design checking. Through the portal, drawings and documents in relation to the Section 278/38 designs can be submitted, and audit reports posted back to the developer/consultant; the local authority can also be messaged directly about the application and can respond with all parties involved in the application being able to see the messages, responses, documents, reports and scheme progression. This means that both the local authority, developer and developer’s consultant have a completely up to date view of progress in one central place.

The Developer Portal is accessed by the developer and their consultant through the local authority website. Whenever they use it to submit a document or send a message, all files submitted to the Highways department at Hampshire are automatically uploaded to its existing MasterGov platform, also supplied by DEF, where it can be viewed by all officers involved with the approval.

The system also tracks document revisions, allowing all parties to view the original documents and any revisions. The latest revision is always shown first, helping to ensure that all parties involved in the application are working with the latest information. Previously staff at the Hampshire would have to manually upload any important messages or documents that came through file transfer sites, or via email, to the platform, resulting in time consuming and unnecessary administration with the risk of emails being inaccessible in individuals email accounts.

The Developer Portal, the implementation for which started in 2019, was developed in response to Hampshire County Council looking to improve its entire Section 278 and Section 38 process and to join up communications between Hampshire, developers and their consultants. Within it, the messaging system keeps all messages from all parties working on the application uploaded, along with documents, so that no emails are going directly through individuals. This means nothing is missed if someone is off sick, moves to a different team, or can no longer access emails for any party.

For developer consultants, the portal ensures that they’ve submitted all the relevant documentation required to progress the application by automatically flagging any missing essential documents, speeding up the process. The interface of the portal for the developer is in keeping with Hampshire’s branding, so that they have a consistent experience to using the rest of the Council’s website, and the MasterGov platform stays the same for council staff, so there is no visual change to the software they are using, just added functionality.

Kathie Murray, Group Engineer at Hampshire County Council says: “Our priority with this project was to minimise the unnecessary administration for the team and to improve our service for developers, and to do that we needed a system where the latest version of a document or action is tracked, and everybody has sight of it and we’re all seeing the same thing.

We’re really pleased with the portal, which is easily accessible, and it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the process, and working with DEF has been a completely collaborative process. We look forward to seeing the benefits this portal will bring to Hampshire’s staff and customers.”

Graeme Cooke, Commercial Director at DEF Software says: “An important part of what we do here at DEF is to work closely with our customers and find solutions to any problems they have. It was a pleasure to work in collaboration with Hampshire to improve its service and create a solution that no doubt other councils will find useful.”

The Developer Portal is now available to other local authorities through DEF Software.

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