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A compelling change

Exemplar Award Winner- Winner National Gazetteers Financial Award 2011: Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council

In 2009, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council could not see any identifiable return on its investment in its LLPG and decided to do something about it.

A true business case was difficult to formulate so, in part, the decision to move forward on the project’s main aims was a leap of faith, based upon an understanding of what had been achieved by other local authorities.

However, it was generally understood that the council’s plans for transformation needed to be underpinned by a high quality LLPG. To resource the project, the authority recruited two students studying geography from Leeds University to work under the direction of the LLPG Custodian. A year working for the council on this specific project would be part of a sandwich course, providing essential work experience between their second and final years.

Suitably resourced, the project had two initial aims: first to improve LLPG data quality, and then to review the business processes involved in the management of address data within each service area. The project was ambitious in its scope, targeting seven service areas in the first year to deliver the ‘quick wins’ that would be a measure of success and drive the project beyond the first phase. The seven service areas chosen were: Planning, Benefits and Taxation, Waste Management, Regulatory Services, CRM, Electoral Services and Education. It would also be incorporated into the GIS.

Outcomes

Barnsley has been successful in both improving its LLPG and making it the single database for a wide range of service areas. It is now automatically integrated with seven major service systems which receive updates on a daily or weekly basis. Domestic and commercial properties have been identified as missing from the council Tax and NDR registers and provided increased revenue as a result.

One of the key aims of the project was to transfer call handling from the back office to the call centre, facilitated by CRM integration with the LLPG. This is already delivering significant savings. Another aim was to ‘channel shift’ citizens to use the Council’s website, the lowest cost channel, to find out information about council services, make requests and report incidents. Waste Management, for example, has already seen 25% channel shift as people have chosen this route to find out information about collections, or to request bins. A new ‘Property Account’ will be launched in 2012 to provide a citizen centric view of all Council services to encourage further channel shift.

Elsewhere, shared addressing is delivering significant operational savings, for example on simple everyday activities, such as data entry and address queries. Some specific annual tasks, such as measuring the accessibility of services for the Local Development Framework – a manual process that required staff to be sent out into the community, is now a simple GIS routine, delivering a saving of over 50 staff days. Similar savings have been achieved in housing monitoring processes.

This is just the start and projected efficiencies and savings resulting from the project already look compelling:

De-duplication & efficiency – £12K

Increased revenue (taxation) – £50K

Transfer of call handling to front office (one service) – £42K

Channel Shift – £10K

Route Optimisation projects – £1m (projected over 4 years)

Key benefits

• ‘create once use many times’ principle eliminates multiple address databases and associated maintenance

• improved address management workflow starting with new properties through the street naming and numbering process

• improved data quality through a daily feedback system from different service areas using the gazetteer

• ease of access to the gazetteer across the authority and a reduction in the time spent querying addresses by as much as 50%

• common referencing system for capturing, storing and transmitting transactions

• enables information from disparate datasets to be presented to citizens in a single view on the Council’s website, encouraging a shift to the web channel to find information, report incidents and request new services

• senior management recognition of the value of the LLPG in underpinning business process transformation

• significant efficiency savings have already been achieved

• citizens benefitting from streamlined service provision in many areas

• GIS analysis for business transformation projects is eliminating a number of time consuming manual exercises.

View from the authority

“The MyHarrow Account is central to our ‘Channel Shift’ strategy. Not only does it provide citizens with an attractive, easy to use way of transacting with the council, but also introduces significant efficiencies and savings. It demonstrates our commitment to being an open, accessible and efficient organisation that is here to serve the needs of its citizens, using the best technology currently available.”

-Ben Jones Senior Project Manager, London Borough of Harrow

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