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Connecting data for better outcomes

"I am now convinced that any public sector organization that wants to get involved in using data for better outcomes needs to nail two things, number one, connect together your spatial data, use UPRNs there's an easy way to match our records, there is amazing things you can do by matching records, if you don't have the UPRN you are making your life impossibly difficult to do it, its starting with the basics and there is a marked difference with what you can do if you do it well."

"We all hear all the time that technology delivers value through being scaled, data delivers value when it is linked and it is shared. The future of local government, the future of public services, the future of our communities depends on this - connecting data for better outcomes.  For that you need UPRNs they are absolutely vital"

Eddie Copeland, Director of Government Innovation in the Innovation Lab at NESTA


"The UPRN is the jewel at the heart of the addressing system.  It links address data across a diverse range of systems and services. The UPRN facilitates greater accuracy and immediate data sharing and matching - delivering better services and better outcomes for citizens"

Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP, previous Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General

With their responsibility for front-line service delivery, councils have access to a huge amount of information related to everything from managing school admissions, social care for vulnerable children and adults, electoral registration, waste collection, procurement, road maintenance and street works, council tax collection to planning applications.

The jigsaw problem

What if there was a way of bringing this information together so that it can be analysed to provide more targeted and effective services? To save officer time in front and back office processes? To understand fraud and error? To provide insight into social problems?

Most council services have a common denominator – location. The unique references in council held Local Land and Property and Street Gazetteers, the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) and the Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) can be used to connect data together to see the bigger picture.

Every council has their own gazetteer which has information on every bit of land, property or street within their administrative area. Significantly, every council also has access to the national versions of this data, free of charge from Ordnance Survey; AddressBase and Highways Network.

Overcoming the fragmentation of local government data

How can you coordinate the actions of teams intelligently if you have thirty organisations or departments, none of whom have the data on what the other is doing?

Consider the Troubled Families initiative, where some families are missed altogether because of the fragmentation of data. If the child goes to school in the neighbouring local authority, the family's council doesn't know that the child has stopped turning up at school.

The various data sources which would help identify troubled families are disparately stored and not easily compared with one another. This means that without bringing data together, identifying possible families who would benefit from the targeted support is difficult.

But by utilising the UPRN, the councils can link together key different datasets to a property address to evaluate whether individual records meet the programme criteria, both within one council or across two, or even three. The outcome is a database which could be used to interrogate the various data sources at property level to build up a more detailed picture of families in and provide support to those in need.

How can councils take advantage?

  1. technology delivers value through being scaled, data delivers value when it is linked and it is shared

  2. connect your spatial data by using UPRNs. They provide an easy way to match records

  3. once records are matched people can more easily see, analyse, and understand patterns and relationships

  4. the data is already yours. The know-how is available.  Connect the data jigsaw to see the bigger picture.

See how councils are already connecting their data for better outcomes

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