Announcing improvements to the online application service – Updated
Are you sitting down? If not you may want to as I’m delighted to be able to tell you that we are, at long last, going to be making some significant improvements to the Portal’s online application service in the coming weeks.
While money is more than a little scarce at the moment we have found enough down the back of the Portal sofas to address some of the key issues you’ve been telling us about for some time.
The changes we’re making contain a handful of legislative-related changes, but in the main we’ve tried to focus on what our users want improved to make it quicker and easier to use.
So without further ado here are some of the key improvements:
Better process for adding supporting documents – according to feedback, one of the big bugbears with our service is the process for attaching supporting documents to an application. You’ve asked us to simplify it and make it less repetitive and that’s just what we’re doing.
Improving the submission process – we’re moving payment to the final part of the submission process, which you’ve told us will make the application process easier for agents, applicants and LPAs.
Simpler help and guidance – a key change for new users, we’re improving the presentation of the help and guidance text by putting the information in the context of the questions.
Improved forms – we’re making it easier to complete the forms by marking required fields with an asterisk. This means it will be easier to see – at a glance – what needs to be done.
UPDATE: This is not the complete list, we are attempting to squeeze in more improvements as money and time allows. We are constrained by only being able to include those changes that can be substantially completed on our test system by March 31st.
The additional changes we hope to add in include the ability to automatically repeat location and site address . More details will be blogged as we confirm the changes are to be made.
I’m aware this is only a start and believe me, there’s more we’d like to do to improve the service. Rest assured that we still have any feedback you’ve previously sent us and we’re always revisiting this to prioritise future improvements.
Applications submitted through the Portal now represent more than 60% of all applications in England and Wales. By the end of 2015 our target is to have 80% of applications submitted via our site. To achieve that we need a world-class application service and these improvements represent our ongoing commitment to meet that goal.
I’ll be blogging more in the coming weeks with some more information on how the changes will affect applicants and LPAs and, importantly, when we expect these improvements live on the site.
As ever, you can share your thoughts by adding a comment below.