What is Spoken

Spoken is a submissions management service designed to support New Zealand local authorities with plan changes and resource consents under the Resource Management Act 1991. Spoken is a web based system made by Perception Planning Limited for planners who manage and analyse submissions on RMA plan changes. There are databases available that focus on Local Government Act processes, but they are not ideal for plan changes. Also, working remotely can often mean using low-performance VPN services to access your information. We created Spoken help you manage submission processes specifically, and it makes remote data entry and analysis easy. It also includes add-on modules for online submissions, hearings administration, and appeal management.


We are very experienced in managing plan changes and submissions and know that one size does not fit all. We work closely with you to figure out the best data entry and reporting setup for you and your future reporting needs.


All data that is not derived directly from submissions received by the Council, including council officer notes that are stored in the database, are treated as strictly confidential. We only access data for the purposes of delivering this service.


We offer help desk support if you have questions while you are using Spoken. As professional planners we can also offer advice on plan change procedures and help you with summarising submissions and data entry.

Find out more

Spoken is a product of Perception Planning Limited. Please contact Phillip Percy to learn more about Spoken and to arrange a demonstration of its capabilities.

Delivery and support

Initial set-up and training

We install and configure the database for you, plus load the core data into it (plan provisions and preferred reporting topics). Next, we meet with your team to show you how the system works. We’ve designed the system to be pretty intuitive so you actually won’t need much training. Plus, existing users can quickly and easily train new users. There are FAQs in the system as well to help staff refine their data entry.

Reporting output

Each council has specific s42A reporting formats and drafting preferences. For a one-off charge we can supply output files that will suit those preferences. This includes raw data outputs (.CSV file) of all applicable data in the system that you can store on your servers for legal data retention requirements.

Monthly support

Your monthly charge includes hosting fees and 2 hours of user support. We respond to phone and email queries on the same day when possible. Spoken has been designed simply, so extensive training and Q&A is not required.

Infrastructure, security and redundancy

Spoken is built around a cloud infrastructure designed to maximize availability, reliability, and security and includes:


Data Storage: MongoDB

Data Indexing: Solr

Application Rendering: JavaScript

Application Processing: Node.js

Servers: Amazon AWS

Data Security

Encryption: all data transfer is encrypted with SSL at each transfer stage.

Protection: all data storage is password protected and secured behind firewalls.

Passwords: all passwords are hashed and encrypted before being stored. No plain-text passwords are ever stored for any user accounts.

Ownership: both the data stores and indexes are on servers managed by Knack, and no third parties are used for maintenance or storage.


All of the application rendering and processing is done with failover and load balancing in place. The Mongo data stores are replicated on additional servers in different locations for higher availability.


Multiple backups of all app data are securely made daily to both on and offsite locations.


Knack is a distributed cloud-based system, which means that scalability can be achieved by simply adding capacity as needed. Record size or bandwidth usage has no impact on performance. Knack apps with millions of records will be just as fast as a new app with 5 records.

Data Availability

All data is available to be exported by the application owner at any time into a variety of formats: CSV, JSON, and TXT.