IDOX (LON:IDOX), the company that supplies software and services to the UK public sector, said today that it preparing to go ‘fully live’ in September with an online system to handle consultations for planning applications. The service will be provisionally launched in June as a replacement to a government-run e-consultation hub that was closed last December in the wake of public sector funding cuts. IDOX said its new system would help iron out inefficiencies in existing manual and basic electronic processes. Expressions of interest in the technology are understood to have already been received from over 75% of statutory consultee bodies including English Heritage, Sport England and The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
IDOX’s national Consultee Cloud will notify consultees of relevant planning applications and allow viewing of application details and creation of responses to planning applications – all returned electronically to the local planning authority. The Consultee Cloud builds on the company’s extensive relationships with local planning authorities. More than 250 planning departments use IDOX software and around 100 local authorities use IDOX Consultee Access software, which speeds up and simplifies the local authority planning consultation process, integrates with IDOX Public Access and back-office planning products and provides an engagement channel for the planning process.
Richard Kellett-Clarke, the chief executive of IDOX, said: “Planning is our core business and we are convinced there are significant business efficiencies and savings to be gained from providing an automated consultation solution, compared with the manual or basic electronic processes currently operated by many stakeholders. The myriad different approaches to consultation can make life very difficult, especially for smaller consultees. We are committed to encouraging further take-up of the Consultee Cloud and are working with local authorities and consultees to deliver the full benefits of e-planning.”
Shares in IDOX have risen from 11.75p to 19.88p since last October, buoyed by better than expected pre-tax profits in 2010, up 21% to £8.0m and a 125% dividend increase to 0.45p per share. Three acquisitions in the year to October have already been followed by the purchase of McLaren Software Group Ltd for £1.0m last December and the recently OFT-approved deal to buy LalPac Ltd for up to £2.6m. LalPac is a major provider of licensing management software and services, supplying 131 local authorities covering the full range of licensing including taxi, private hire, gambling and general licensing functions. IDOX counts more than 90% of UK local authorities as customers and its land & property software solutions business covers over 60% of installed UK local government planning solutions.
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