New public sector laws to have huge impact on built environment and planning

Author: Robin Barber

Robin Barber
May 20, 2021

By Robin Barber, product owner of built environment at Arcus Global

To many, the Queen’s speech might not sound like much but a rubber-stamping exercise. Yet what Her Majesty announced last week will impact planning and built environment platforms more than suppliers and public sector customers might initially realise. Here are the standout commitments from the Government this year, and what they mean for suppliers and the public sector alike.

Planning to be the centrepiece in new reforms

Laws will simplify procurement in the public sector.”

The first element I noticed on watching the speech is that it’s good news for public sector suppliers, particularly SMEs. It’s now abundantly clear that purchasing and the whole procurement process must be accessible, simple, and seamless. SMEs often have to pool all of their resources into fewer bids which are very significant for them, so anything that reduces the complexity and workload is welcomed.

We’ve been aware of the Government’s procurement green paper for some time, and the proposals within them make a good amount of sense. It was therefore no surprise to see them take centre stage in the speech. On the whole, the paper clarifies some of the issues that have been circulating around the red tape of buying within the public sector. Supply Management sums it up nicely here. Overall, suppliers should be cautiously optimistic about what lies ahead here.

Home ownership influencing new laws

Secondly, in spite of sky-rocketing prices due to the removal of stamp duty payments in response to the pandemic, homeownership is on the increase. Continuing on from this momentum, an additional £26 million has been announced to help deliver a faster property search service for homebuyers and support local authorities to centralise the land charge service.

The boom also appears to have reached the planning system in extension to this. Laws to modernise the planning system will aim to allow for more houses to be built. Basically, this is the biggest change to the planning process since its inception in 1947. Acceleration appears to be at the top of the agenda. The government also committed to help more people to own their own home.  No surprises here.

Safety first

“Ministers will establish in law a new building safety regulator.”

We knew about this already, but in light of the tragic Grenfell disaster, we will see the Health and Safety Executive take control of a large number of building control applications and become a statutory consultee on an increased number of planning applications. Suppliers in this area and organisations that work with them should be aware of this.

For the public sector and its suppliers, many of these announcements will represent positive change, especially as the agenda moves away from that of large suppliers and shifts  towards the specialist SMEs that prioritise collaboration and highly tailored solutions. Over the past year, many organisations have realised the range of benefits that this setup can bring and are more open to collaborating with smaller players. Couple this with changes that can simplify the usual processes, I believe we can all feel positive about what’s to come.

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 public sector organisations to transform their service delivery.

Arcus has developed a platform-based suite of Applications for Local and Central Government. Addressing the challenges inCitizen Digital interaction, Citizen relationship management and through specific platform based case management solutions for Planning, Building Control, Licensing and  Environmental Health etc.

Arcus has grown to over 30 customers including Folkestone & Hythe District Council, Eastleigh Borough Council, The London Borough of Islington, Wiltshire County Council, Department for Culture Media & Sport and the Home Office.


Charlotte Fionda, Marketing Manager at Arcus Global