Skip to Content

April 2017

1)General Election could delay reform of local government finance

Plans to roll out 100% business rates retention from April 2019 have been thrown into the air by the calling of the General Election.

Councils will have to wait to discover whether the reform of local government finance will be ready to go live from 2019/20 after the General Election disrupted the smooth passage of the Local Government Finance Bill.

Appearing before the Communities and Local Government Committee after MPs approved the 8 June General Election date, local government minister Marcus Jones admitted the Local Government Finance Bill ‘will fall' because there was insufficient time to complete its passage into law before Parliament rises.

See full story here:

2)GeoPlace annual conference – "Why I hate addresses" and all that

A somewhat controversial theme will take centre stage at the annual GeoPlace conference on the 11th May at Leeds United Football Club.

Jon Franklin, Head of Data & Information Strategy Valuation Office Agency will discuss "Why I hate addresses". On the face of it an interesting presentation at a conference aimed at address, street and geographic information experts in the UK!  Jon's presentation will highlight the complexities and challenges that organisations face in developing and managing large property databases and why the work that local councils do is central in bringing order into this chaos.

Presentations from the Office for National Statistics, the Land Registry and The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy will emphasise the requirement for quality addressing in national initiatives such as the 2021 census, the digital national local land charges register and in identifying fraud and error in business rates collection respectively.

Eddie Copeland, Director of Government Innovation at NESTA will talk to the overall conference theme of ‘Connecting data for better outcomes', highlighting how address and street information helps with decision making about service delivery, targeting scarce resources at areas of greatest need and predicting and preventing social problems.

Jerry McConkey, CEO of the Joint Authorities Group(UK) will underline how data from local highways authorities reduces congestion and increases network availability. He will discuss the ways in which the government has signalled its intention to change the way in which it manages and uses data and as well as plans and communicates about streetworks.  With 38 Million licence holders in the UK, congestion and better management of street activities are high on the political agenda.

The conference will also feature 20 additional discussions sessions on a wide range of topics around data which delegates can pick-and choose to create their personalised agenda for the day.

Richard Mason, Managing Director of GeoPlace said: "We are delighted to announce such a provocative programme for our conference this year.  Attendees at the conference are the people in local councils with statutory responsibility for naming and numbering properties and building and maintaining a local register of address and street information.  These local registers are collected from every council by GeoPlace, amalgamated into one national register and used right across the whole of government for data sharing, linking and interoperability.  It's absolutely necessary that GeoPlace provides the support and mechanism for people to come together to discuss the programme for the development of these datasets."

3)Understanding local populations between censuses

Knowing the characteristics of the entire population is key for the development of public policy. The decennial census provides a snap-shot of all people and households in a particular area and has a direct bearing on the government support that councils receive to fund public services.

These population statistics provide consistent insights and contextual information for small areas and population groups, and highlight local need for services like schools, roads and hospitals. By knowing how many people live in an area, local authorities can identify the services and facilities communities need and make informed decisions.

Councils such as Leeds City Council believe that these statistics are so important in developing its services that it needed to find a method to understand small area population estimates for bespoke areas and periods of time whenever required, not just every 10 years at fixed aggregated areas.

Most statistics are published at known geographies but these geographies and frequencies don't always match with the data that users want.  Faced with the challenge of developing a method which provided the statistics required, when they were needed, the Local Address Custodian at Leeds utilised local address property data and classifications; together with council tax data on vacant properties; and known 2011 Census average Household Sizes at Output Area to estimate current population sizes, in any size area

Rachel will be speaking at this year's GeoPlace annual conference on her work in this area.

- See more at:

4)Exhibitors at GeoPlace event

GeoPlace would like the thank the following companies for supporting the event and enabling us to make the conference free of charge to delegates:

See here for more information.

5)Case studies

OS and GeoPlace have released a number of new case studies featuring addressing:

6)'Glitch' in car parking app causes serious data breach

An update of a car parking app used by councils across the country has exposed users to a serious data breach.

Hundreds of drivers using the RingGo cashless parking app were able to see the personal details of other motorists, such as names and vehicle registration.

Another 1,400 customers also had their passwords disabled and reset.

RingGo said the error was ‘totally unacceptable' and apologises to those affected.

A statement from RingGo said: ‘We can assure customers that no useable payment card information was displayed – only the last four digits are shown. Some personal data could have been visible, eg name, vehicle registration. It would not be possible to use another's account to pay for a parking session.

‘We take the security of our customers' data extremely seriously and a full investigation into the root cause is taking place so that this issue will not happen again.'

7)Highways England has updated its guidance for supply chain partners

The government-owned company has added an example improvement plan to its Highways England Lean Maturity Assessment (HELMA) tool, which aims to help organisations in its supply chain determine the extent to which they have adopted Lean principles.

It says it encourages its supply chain partners to adopt Lean principles and foster a culture of continuous improvement - to mutual advantage.

HELMA has 2 main aims:

to enable firms to assess their organisation, or the part of it providing products and services to Highways England, in terms of Lean maturity

to provide a structured method for Highways England to carry out moderation of self assessments

The process includes a completing a HELMA self-assessment using an assessment framework that provides an organisation with a structured means of assessing where it is in terms of implementing Lean.

See full story here:

8)Oxford trials new street mapping project

Oxford City Council is trialling a new street mapping project as part of a push to develop autonomous vehicles and as a means to transform the way the authority manages its services across the city.

The project, which is being trialled with the University of Oxford's Robotics Institute (ORI), involves attaching sensors to a council street cleaner in the city centre to create 3D maps.

These can be used to trial the development of autonomous vehicles. But they will also enable the collection of data, such as on road and pavement surface damage and air quality, which can help in the management of the city.

‘Working with the Oxford Robotics Institute we are exploring how the city council's fleet of street cleaners and refuse collection vehicles can be fitted with sensors, developed by the ORI, to map the city,' said Sebastian Johnson, vice chair of the Smart Oxford Board and project manager at Oxford City Council.

See full story here:

9)Regional Meetings

3rd May – North East Address – Seaham

18th May – South West Street – Hatch Beauchamp

23rd May – East Midlands Street – Nottingham

24th May – East Midlands Address – Grantham

31st May – London Street – Islington

1st June – South East Street – London

8th June – Wales Address – Llandrindod Wells - To be rearranged due to the General Election

14th June – East of England Address – TBA

15th June – South West Address – Taunton

20th June - London Address – Islington

6th July – South East Address – London

11th July – Yorkshire & Humber Address – Wakefield

12th July – North West Address – Lancaster