The Planning Inspectorate is moving into the alpha phase of a project investigating the potential of artificial intelligence in its operations.
It has awarded a £144,000 contract for a five-month project to Oxford Global Projects UK, indicating that it could also lead to work on a beta phase.
The move follows a recent discovery project and is aimed exploring various aspects of the use of AI in the inspectorate’s examination of local plans.
The contract notice states: “This will enable us to deepen learning, increase engagement and prove whether there is value in future investment to help make local plans examinations quicker, more efficient, and more accurate.”
Oxford Global Project has been working with the Planning Inspectorate on the potential for AI, looking at issues such as user needs, how it would integrated with the organisation’s current technology environment, and the location and condition of data.
Writing in a blogpost last year, its head of innovation and improvement Claire Hamar said: “In addition to making it easier for customers to do business with us, we want to establish a focus on the future and enable creativity in our problem solving. Through innovation we want to become more efficient in what we deliver so we can focus on what matters most – quality decision making.”