Transforming Places Together: digital strategy for planning

This strategy defines a long-term strategic direction for how Scotland’s planning system will digitally transform, embracing the opportunities new digital technologies and data present. It sets out what we intend to deliver, why this is needed and the benefits this transformation will bring.


This Strategy is evidence based, it has been borne out of stakeholder engagement, dialogue and research. To understand the things that work well in Scotland’s planning system and also to understand the things we can do better – the problems and challenges that have real impact on those that work in planning or those trying to get involved.

We have invested time to investigate and fully understand different stakeholder experiences and views, which can vary greatly across the planning system, and used these to define a programme of improvements through digital. It is a Strategy for Scotland’s planning sector and has been shaped and informed by a broad cross section of those that work or interact with planning.

We would like to acknowledge and sincerely thank the many individuals and groups who have been involved in its preparation, including members of the public, community representatives and those representing business and industry interests. In particular we would like to thank members of the Digital Taskforce, the Economic Advisory Group on Digital Planning, Heads of Planning Scotland, COSLA, The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), the Improvement Service and the Local Government Digital Office together with individual members of local authority staff who have provided invaluable direction and expertise during Strategy development.

The Strategy is structured in three main sections: The Vision – which sets out the ambition, aims and benefits of this transformation; The Opportunity – which explains the foundation and scale of possibility; The Transformation – which sets out our goals and priorities for delivering transformation.

This Strategy marks the start of a long and complex journey to digitally transform Scotland’s planning system. As we progress it will continue to be refreshed and evolve as we learn and adapt. It will flex to respond to future technologies and as we deliver improvements through the transformation programme. We don’t underestimate this challenge but believe in Scotland we have the right ingredients and drive to succeed and help create a planning system fit for the future.

John McNairney FRTPI, Chief Planner, Scottish Government



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