The planning system is one of the most important layers of everyday democracy. It shapes our homes, our neighbourhoods, our environment and therefore our lives. It is also at the front line of the climate challenge – as we retrofit our existing homes and neighbourhoods, and build new ones. Yet the planning system we have today is famous for being slow, opaque, bureaucratic and inaccessible, especially to those who don’t have a lot of money or time.
We are working with local planning authorities and the Department for Levelling Up, Homes and Communities (DLUHC) to build a planning system fit for the 21st century. To do this, we are building Plan✕, an open source, low-code platform that allows planning authorities to collaboratively build and deploy simple, accessible planning services. They are some of the first government services in the world that use ‘rules-as-code’ to bake legislation, policies and guidance into the services themselves, making complicated, opaque services like planning simpler and more transparent for everyone.
We will also be working with local governments and other organisations to build other services that will, for example, make it easier for people to do things like retrofit their homes.
The role will involve:
Hosting online workshops with stakeholders and experts to gather insights and feedback.
Making sense of planning legislation and policies, converting them into rules.
Writing services as flowcharts in the Plan✕ editor, using clear language that is easy to understand.
Working with planning officers, content designers and user researchers to test and improve those services.
Following and contributing to a growing set of guides for how to write great planning services.
It might also involve
Producing graphics and visual content (if you're into that kind of thing)
Excellent logic / analytical skills Able to unpick complex, overlapping sources of information and make sense out of them. Willing to do the hard work to make it simple for users. (We have put an optional puzzle below).
Clear thinker You must be a natural lucid thinker; someone who can see the wood for the trees. Or if you don’t understand something, you are someone who has the confidence to say so, and ask a person who does.
Loves making things simple You should have some understanding of the principles of user-centered design and best practices for digital content.
A natural do-er deliverer Someone who is happy to take the initiative and quickly build a first version of a service, which others can then help test and improve.
Good writing skills Able to distill complex information into clear, accessible, jargon-free language, without distorting its meaning.
A good listener and communicator able to draw-out people’s knowledge, build trust, to read between the lines of what stakeholders are telling you, being sensitive to their fears and concerns, whilst also finding ways to allay those fears.
Purpose-driven Motivated by working on big social challenges.
Nice to have
Illustration or graphic skills For example, using Adobe Illustrator or similar to create web graphics and even videos.
Significant relevant experience designing services and/or content for the web especially for public services.
Experience or knowledge of the planning system or other public services
Experience or knowledge of user research and testing with users
We are aware that you might not exactly fit the role exactly as we've described it. If you are interested in this role, but are not sure if you exactly fit all of this description, or if you have ideas about reshaping this role, please apply anyway – or get in touch with us.
What's in it for you?
Work with a small, but incredibly talented, friendly, and motivated team in a high-expectations, but always kind and inclusive environment. Trying to change systems can be hard work, so we look after each other.
Ridiculously flexible working. Work where you want and when you want (most of the time at least).
Take a key role in designing and building the planning services of the next decades that will be used by millions, and play a huge role in tackling key challenges such as housing and carbon reduction.
Pioneer the use of low-code, collaborative tools to build and deploy services across government.
If you are a clear thinker and writer, with a desire to work on stuff that really matters, we’d love to hear from you.
Puzzle challenge (optional)
Can you write the piece of legislation below as a flowchart, using simple questions that could be understood by an 11 year old?
If so, please submit your flowchart in any format along with your CV when you apply. Of course this is completely optional, but it will significantly increase the chances of your application succeeding.
A.3 Development is permitted by Class A subject to the following conditions—
(a)the materials used in any exterior work (other than materials used in the construction of a conservatory) must be of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the exterior of the existing dwellinghouse;
(b)any upper-floor window located in a wall or roof slope forming a side elevation of the dwellinghouse must be—
(ii)non-opening unless the parts of the window which can be opened are more than 1.7 metres above the floor of the room in which the window is installed;
Got questions? Not sure if you quite fit this role? Get in touch. Or just apply anyway.