Planning software suppliers can be truly creative in the current market- we just need the nod

Arcus Global

Richard Sankey
June 1, 2020

Richard Sankey, Product Director at Arcus Global

I read this report from the Connected Place Catapult with great interest. I don’t disagree with the six principles outlined in the report. In fact, at Arcus we try to put these principles into action every day. However, in focusing wholly on the software suppliers, the report misses an opportunity to highlight some more fundamental issues.

I would put procurement near the top of that list of issues, with change management, HR and IT all on that list somewhere too.

It would be very interesting to take a local authority procurement exercise for planning software and see how much focus it puts on the six principles outlined in the report. If you pick out one principle – ‘modularity’ – by way of example: I have worked on hundreds of procurements of planning software, and not one has been for a system for managing planning applications alone. Often the procurement exercises don’t only include the broader elements of a local authority Planning service, but also services such as building control, land charges, environmental health and so on. Any supplier selling software that only deals with planning applications would find it hard to sell to the current market.

Should the software suppliers take a stand on the principles, and go out of business?   Or do they give the market what it is asking for?

Here at Arcus Global, we have long since championed moving away from legacy tech and legacy ways of working. We are providing many of the elements of the goals outlined in this report, meeting many of the principles, and are striving to take further steps all the time. But we have to acknowledge that we are working within a market where the kind of innovation that we would love to take forward, isn’t always what is wanted.

About Arcus Global

Arcus Global, formed in 2009 and based in Cambridge UK, is a market leading GovTech cloud company, delivering mission critical technology solutions that enable local authorities and other public sector organisations to transform their service delivery to citizens.

The Software as a Service division of Arcus has developed a platform based suite of Applications for Local Government. Addressing the challenge of legacy technology in Citizen Digital interaction, Planning, Building Control, Licensing, Environmental Health. Arcus has grown to over 30 customers including Folkestone & Hythe District Council, Eastleigh Borough Council and the London Borough of Southwark.

The Cloud Infrastructure Division of Arcus provides Consultancy, Managed Services and Cloud Storage to a large number of Public Sector bodies across Central Government, Local Government, the NHS and the Education sector.


Kate Warboys, Marketing Manager at Arcus Global