Business Case

Helping Local Councils make a convincing business case for adopting Parish Online

Parish Online is designed to make councils more efficient and effective. Used properly, the time saved by using the digitial mapping software can recoup the licence fee many times over.
On this page we'll give guidance to help you calculate the following for your own council:

Estimating the expected cost savings

Anticipating the qualitative benefits to the council

The most common applications of Parish Online which save time and money are listed below. For each application we have estimated the saving per use.

To estimate the overall savings to your council all you need to do is to estimate the number of times (per annum) that you are likely to use Parish Online for each application.
1. Planning Application analysis

Councils are required to assess and comment on the soundness/desirability of Planning Applications. Parish Online allows you to analyse the Planning Application in respect to all the major constraints (proximity to SSSIs, Listed Buildings, AONBs, Flood Zones, Special Protection Areas, Neighbourhood and Local Plan Maps etc) (see available Map Data in Parish Online). Parish Online also allows you to document your findings with maps which reduces the time to write a report to the Planning Authority.

Time Savings

~1.5 hours saved per application
How many applications do your team assess over the course of a year?

Qualitative Benefits

  • All councillors can look at the relevant constraints from home to inform their view
  • Maps showing the application polygon with the relevant constraints overlaid help the council to make its case more clearly.
  • A layer of Planning Applications can be created in Parish Online to build up a history of planning applications, which can be useful reference library for future use. (eg “We turned down this application in 2016. Has anything changed to alter our view today?”)
2. Purchasing Planning Maps

If your council submits Planning Applications to your the principle authority, you'll be aware that you're required to submit a Site Plan and Block Plan using Ordnance Survey mapping. Your council already has a licence to use Ordnance Survey maps, so produce your plan within Parish online instead of paying for it again through another service.

Cost Savings

~£21.50 for a 1:200 and 1:1250 Block and Site Plan
~£59.50 for a 1:500 and 1:2500 Block and Site Plan

How many planning applications does your council submit each year?

Applications from Local Councils are usually for things like extending outdoor seating on high streets or events in parks.

Qualitative Benefits

  • Keep your drawings in a map layer so you can re-use them again and again.
  • Producing accurate and high quality maps saves time and reduces the likelihood of failed submissions.
3. Neighbourhood Plan Maps

Councils frequently outsource the creation of Neighbourhood Plan maps/plans to a contractor. Depending on the size of the council the number of maps and plans in a Neighbourhood Plan ranges from 10 to over 100. Using the Parish Online Print function to produce these maps and plans provides a significant cost saving. Maps can also be published on a website to make the maps more interactive.

Time Savings

~5 hours per plan produced
Allowing your neighbourhood planning contractor to use Parish Online on your behalf can save hours of work and produce better maps.

Qualitative Benefits

  • The council has control of its Neighbourhood Plan maps, so the Neighbourhood Plan is easy to maintain.
  • The Neighbourhood Plan maps can always be viewed against the latest OS MasterMap and Aerial Photography backdrop mapping.
  • Contractors can continue to be involved and even help contribute to maps in Parish Online
4. Insurance Asset Registers

Renewing a council’s insurance policy requires a comprehensive and accurate Asset Register. This is significantly easier to maintain in Parish Online than in separate spreadsheets and Word documents which are not always accessible to all council staff with a need to know. Providing this information to your insurance provider not only gives them confidence in your organisation, but will make raising claims easier should it come to that.

Cost Savings

~£10 per asset (once asset register is in place)
Keeping the asset register up-to-date with regular checks of the data saves time in the long-run.

The savings compared to a failed claim are much more than stated here.

Qualitative Benefits

  • A Digital Asset Register available to all relevant staff is likely to be more accurate and comprehensive than using traditional methods.
  • There is less chance of confusion over what has been insured. For instance, if a bench has been vandalised, then there is no doubt about whether it has been insured or not (because it will be marked on the map with a photograph attached).
5. Contracts Management
Parishes need to let contracts to companies for tasks such as cutting grass, surveying and maintaining trees, street-lamps, benches, bus shelters etc. A map provides a clear and unambiguous view of the work required (for instance exactly which trees need to be surveyed, and the exact area of grass to be cut).

Cost Savings

~£100 per contract to be let and managed

Qualitative Benefits

  • A clear map provides clarity which significantly reduces risk. For instance, if a publicly-owned tree falls and causes injury, it is vital that the council can demonstrate that the tree was properly inspected and maintained. Without a clear map in the contract it may be difficult for the council to demonstrate proper management.
  • Parish Online allows the council to populate a historical record of contracts and prices which will help with the placing of future contracts, especially after a change of personnel.
6. Local Plan Reviews
District Local Plans have to be maintained and updated on a regular basis in consultation with all the parishes involved. To do this properly (especially if the Parish opposes the will of the District) requires a lot of effort, including giving evidence at the Examination-in-Public (EIP). Parish Online makes the process of reviewing and commenting on the Local Plan much easier.

Some Local Authorities share their Local Plan data through Parish Online so all councils are informed of what the plan consists of. This makes it easy to compare your own mapping data with the principle authorities in one map view.

Cost Savings

~£100-£1,000 savings per issue commented on (depending on complexity)

Qualitative Benefits

  • Comments backed up by definitive information and maps using Parish Online is likely to be of a much higher quality and hold higher credibility when reviewed.
Discover the ways other Local Councils have used Parish Online to save money

Trial now for a

30day free trial

  • Try the fully-featured Parish Online and keep your data if you carry on with a full subscription.
  • Once your trial has ended you have the option to switch to a full subscription or even take advantage of a BHIB-funded subscription.

Subscribe now for a

10% Discount

  • For new subscribers to Parish Online who want to get started straight away with no trial period.
  • We'll give you this discount every year providing you keep a continuous subscription with Parish Online.

Free with BHIB Councils Insurance


  • For any Council who take a new 3 year BHIB Councils Insurance policy, Parish Online is free!
  • Don't worry if you already have a policy with another provider, you can get Parish Online if you commit to switching when your renewal is due.
  • Terms and Conditions apply, contact BHIB for details.
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