Browse Catapults
Transport System Catapult - Logo Home

The Plantech Challenge

Connected Places Catapult is bringing together local planning authorities to partner and co-invest in the digital transformation of planning – so that local government can fix things together, faster, cheaper and more effectively than alone.

What is it?

Through our work on innovation projects over the past four years, the Connected Places Catapult’s Plantech team have demonstrated the need and value of a more digital planning system. Yet the pace, quality and scale of digital transformation of the planning system is often constrained by:

  • Cuts in local authority budgets
  • Lack of digital skills and capacity
  • Resources to invest in innovation particularly discovery projects to help truly understand users and explore pain points, and ensure the real problem is being solved
  • Difficulty in scouting and engaging suitable suppliers
  • Complexities in procurement.

How it works

  1. Connected Places Catapult selects a challenge based on regular feedback from local authorities.
  2. We promote the challenge, identifying and engaging local authority partners to co-invest. Participants contribute £25k to the collective budget for one challenge.
  3. Partners enter into the Catapult’s Plantech Collaboration Agreement, setting out ways of working for the challenge.
  4. The Catapult engages and procures a supplier to deliver the discovery project. Partners can participate in supplier assessment.
  5. The Catapult manages the full discovery project on behalf of partners.
  6. A detailed discovery report is delivered to partners, covering aspects such as user needs, pain points, challenges, user experience wireframes, and a roadmap for onward development and prototyping
  7. The Catapult helps to engage partners for onward development.

The Catapult’s Plantech Challenge programme is a platform for public sector planning services to pool resources to explore, develop and adopt new planning innovations that suit their needs – delivered via the Catapult’s proven model.

Typical challenge timeline

Why sign up?


  • One-to-many approach: the pooled resource means a smaller and lower risk investment to achieve the same objective.
  • Domain expertise: we bring wide-ranging experience of delivering digital planning projects to your challenge.
  • Human-centred approach: the Catapult’s experience in Insight & Service Design means we can ensure that any supplier takes a user-led approach to each challenge, so that any solutions truly meet your user and stakeholder’s needs.


  • Neutrality: our neutral position means we will ensure the shared challenge meets the specific requirements of all local authorities.
  • Project management: we will effectively manage the process from discovery to delivery – ensuring the project delivers to the brief, handling payments, and keeping the process simple for all participants.
  • Proven collaboration agreement: the Plantech Challenge contract mechanism clearly sets out the roles of different partners in a challenge. Collective funds are can be applied to a shared challenge without complex contractual arrangements.


Connected Places Catapult is currently running two live challenges:

• Local Plans Challenge
• Viability Challenge

If you’d like to participate, or to propose a challenge of your own, get in touch:

Dan Rogers, Built Environment Directorate
T: +447 702 516 260