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Fri April 23 2021

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RTPI to help deliver digital planning in Scotland

25 Mar The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is to work with the Scottish government on the digitisation of the planning processes.

RTPI Scotland is to be an early delivery partner for the Scottish government’s Digital Planning programme. The launch of the five-year transformation programme follows the publication in November 2020 of Transforming Places Together: Scotland's digital strategy for planning.

As part of its work on the programme, RTPI Scotland said that it will explore the ‘digital readiness’ of planners working in the Scottish government, planning authorities, planning consultancies and other organisations.

It will undertake research to identify the current state of play by assessing the level of skills and knowledge on digital planning; identifying the needs, challenges and opportunities to upskill planners; and testing what an effective skills development programme could look like.

RTPI Scotland’s work will inform the drawing up of a programme to support planners across Scotland to share best practice and learning; network and connect with others involved; shape practice; champion digital planning and challenge stakeholders to embed it into their work.

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The RTPI will deliver the programme, in association with partners, between March 2021 and March 2025.

RTPI Scotland director Craig McLaren said: “RTPI Scotland is delighted to be at the heart of the digital planning transformation programme. Our own research has shown the value that digitising the planning service can have to the economy, to users and to those who manage the system and we believe that this partnership with the Scottish government can be a real catalyst in making the system more accessible, transparent and collaborative.

“This is especially important as we move towards a post-Covid green recovery. We are very pleased that the Scottish government has recognised the importance of investing in the profession so that planners are digital ready and primed to take this forward.”

In 2015 an independent review of the planning system recommended that use of data and technology in the planning system should be explored, and that there is the potential for this to provide significant benefits for the system. Following this the Scottish government established a digital taskforce to guide and shape a programme of digital transformation. The programme is working towards the introduction of new systems and ways of working, designed to facilitate a planning system that is more inclusive and efficient and which supports sustainable economic development both locally and across Scotland.

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