Open Digital Planning (formerly RIPA and BOPS)

Lambeth were proud to be the hosts for the launch of the new Open Digital Planning (ODP) project which combines the previously named RIPA (Reducing Invalid Planning Applications) and BOPS (Back Office Planning System) in December 2022 at the Royal Festival Hall. ODP is a collaborative project aimed at making it quicker and easier to make and process planning applications. Lambeth is a pioneer council at the vanguard of the Digital Planning revolution. We have been collaboratively leading this project since 2019

Planning Team with partners at planning workshop
Project status: In delivery Cost: Approximately £4.3m in total funding from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) Neighbourhood: Lambeth wide

Background to the projects

Almost 50 percent of all planning applications are 'invalid' or missing key information when submitted. These need to be resubmitted or supported with by additional information, resulting in significant delays. 

The ODP project partners are addressing this problem by developing a user-centred system that will simplify the complex planning application process. This part of the development work is now known as PlanX Services. 
Lambeth has also been working to deliver the Back office planning system (BoPS) since 2020, a solution which supports the day-to-day tasks involved in dealing with planning applications. BoPS is designed around the needs of planning officers who use the system on a regular basis. 
We’re leveraging investment in development of these services to deliver on the Lambeth Digital Strategy.
This strategy aims to make land use planning processes digital, to facilitate investment in the borough compatible with our strategic policy objectives. 

What has been done so far

2019: Reducing Invalid Planning Applications (RIPA) and the Back office planning system (BOPS) projects separately win funding from DLUHC's Local Digital Fund. Lambeth led the development of RIPA through these early stages. 

2020: RIPA and BOPS projects reach beta phase and align product development activities. Lambeth joined as a full time partner on the innovative BOPS project at this stage. 

2021: Lambeth launched a private beta for a Lawful Development Certificate applications service. Residents and local businesses were invited to test them. Lambeth had the largest response from these users. 

2022: We launched the public beta Apply for Lawful Development service, running on PlanX services, live on our website. We began testing a public beta version of BOPS.  Launch of the ODP website and combined project

Where we are now

Our Apply for a Lawful Development Certificate  service guides users through the application process for lawful development certificates (LDCs). LDCs are a form of planning application typically used to confirm whether work is permitted by legislation.  

A range of home-owner projects, like extensions and new driveways, can be ‘permitted development’ if they meet certain conditions. The PlanX services allow applicants to find out whether their project is likely to comply with the rules, and what documents they will need to submit a valid application. 

BOPS streamlines the processing of planning applications by planning officers. 

The project continues to grow. Lambeth continues to work collaboratively with partners including Buckinghamshire, London Borough of Camden, Dacorum Borough Council, Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council, Gloucester City Council, Medway Council, Newcastle City Council and London Borough of Southwark. 

Our vision for the future 

In future phases, the project will look to develop functionality for dealing with ‘full planning’ applications. This is a key challenge, as dealing with these applications depend on the local planning policies of each authority.  

How you can get involved

The project is delivered through agile methodology. This is an iterative process that responds to feedback from users, including applicants and planning professionals. 

Continual testing with users is part of Lambeth’s  commitment to designing services that meet applicants’ needs, improve transparency and deliver value for money.  

To help us test ideas, features and the design of the project, we are keen to engage with residents and local businesses. 

We hold regular user testing sessions with volunteers who use the tool to walk-through a planning application scenario. These sessions are led by our professional user researcher. If you are interested in volunteering for the testing service and take part – please register your interest by emailing us at

Show and Tell broadcasts 

We also hold regular monthly live Show & Tell broadcasts. The project team use these to report back on what they have been working on.  

For alerts about our upcoming broadcasts, connect with us on social media. 

Catch up on previous Show and Tells on the Open Digital Planning YouTube channel.

More information

Get in touch






Lambeth Town Hall