ePlanning Project


Project Overview

The ePlanning program intended to improve all stages of the CoS’s planning processes and systems from community member enquiries and application lodgement to internal assessment, determination, and finally certification.

ePlanning Program built and delivered tools to efficiently lodge and assess development applications, track their progress and implement an efficient and consistent process for determinations. Moreover, this also identified improvement opportunities, to simplify and expedite the processing time for development applications.

A project like this requires input from across the organisation and the early scoping work included:

• Analysis of a 2015 survey of over 400 planning customer respondents;

• Interviews with 4 key City business planning customers;

• Qualitative focus group research of small and large business, residential, and impaired planning customers

• 53 internal cross-divisional as-is process workshops/meetings to document and assess existing (as-is) processes;


City of Sydney


The project was implemented by the City's Technology & Digital Services and Planning teams in collaboration with the TechnologyOne. A large number of internal and external stakeholders were engaged and benefit by the e-Planning solution.
Program Manager
Project Manager
Change Manager
Change Analyst
Community Members

Project Brief

The online planning solution guides the community when they lodge their property development applications reducing errors and frustration with the previous paper based forms. The program aimed to transform and enhance the user experience and address the council’s business process limitations. The ePlanning benefits include :

• Providing effective online tools that allow customers to ‘self-serve’

• Reducing the number of phone calls;

• Providing guided online lodgement capability that ensures lodged applications are consistent and are accompanied by the correct documentation;

• Reducing the burden of the applicant lodging at the Council premises; and

• Providing a guided assessment tool for planners that will lead to a more consistent, efficient and streamlined process that will reduce risk to the City.

Project Innovation/Need

One of the key strategies in the City’s Technology and information and innovation Strategic Plan is to continue to invest in systems that support digital service delivery and workforce mobility and this is supported in the latest Community Strategic Plan Delivering Sustainable Sydney 2030-2050..

The City’s ePlanning key project goals were:

• Standardisation of processes;

• A communication hub and automated alerts for customer communication and relationship management;

• Enhanced online tools, smart lodgement and assessment;

• Knowledge-based self-help tools;

• Process reengineering and automation;

• Electronic lodgement and processing;

• Management dashboard and enhanced reporting.

The project integrated new software with existing core applications of the property and rating application, records management system and spatial mapping software to leverage the existing capability together with the new software functions creating a unique end to end solution.

Design Challenge

The NSW Government introduced its ePlanning Program after the City had commenced its project, and this added significant time and complexity to the project.

The project required input from the planning, customer services, legal services, information management, finance, spatial information and other teams as part of the internal application referral process, and was led via dedicated project team, governed by a project control group. Working teams were created to develop new processes and test with internal users. External stakeholders were consulted through the initial development and scoping stages.

Various information technologies and tools which are crucial for providing accurate databases, map services, electronic lodgement of application, tracking programs and information sharing and reporting were utilised to implement the new planning system.

The implementation of ePlanning transformed our work practices especially with reducing the number of errors and lack of documentation lodged, speeding up processing times and provided our users to self serve and lodge their documents correctly and securely.

Future Impact

Delivering planning services is one of the core business functions of the City of Sydney (the City). In the financial year 2015/16, it assessed in excess of 3,500 planning and building related applications, the fourth highest processed by number of applications across all NSW councils. In value terms, the City’s planning assessments lead the state with some 10% of the overall total (some $5.5 billion) processed annually.

With the implementation of ePlanning at City, a world class anytime, anywhere planning service is made available to the customers which also reduces the City’s carbon footprint. The final stage was implemented in mid 2022. Customers will be able to utilise and connect to planning services remotely from their home or office. By providing a more consistent, streamlined and efficient planning process, the City will be able to provide a more positive customer experience, enhancing its image as an innovative, forward-looking organisation.

This award celebrates creative and innovative solution design for the successful delivery and provision of services. Consideration given to system integration, user experience, product design
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