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As the rain came down

NLPG Exemplar Award: Winner – ‘Most Creative Use’ 2007: Kingston-upon-Hull City Council.

In 10 In June 2007, Kingston-upon-Hull suffered some of the worst flooding experienced during a summer dominated by the effects of unusually high levels of rainfall over a prolonged period. According to a final report by the Independent Review Body, the flooding caused widespread disruption with damage to over 8,600 residential properties, over 1,300 businesses and many other premises including 91 of the 99 local schools.

Hull Council were faced with the immediate task of managing the flood event as it unfolded, ensuring risk to life and property was minimised, yet it was only as the response matured from the management of a emergency incident to a clear up and reinstatement operation did the full extent of the damage become apparent.

Hull Council, due to ongoing investment in and support of their Local Land and Property Gazetteer, were able to quickly map the location of all flood related service requests received through the council’s centralised call centre. With a direct feed from the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application to both an Intranet and Internet based mapping application, a real time picture of the unfolding flood event was available for the emergency response teams and residents of the city. This proof of concept was rolled out for the successful management of the clear up operation and for the delivery of non flood related services.

Outcomes

Hull Council understands the importance of the LLPG and sees it as fundamental to improvements in their policy to offer ‘better services to citizen and a better deal for the tax payer’. This commitment has resulted in the unique reference numbers from both the LLPG and also the council’s Local Street Gazetteer (LSG) being embedded in front line applications, such as the council’s CRM, and service delivery areas.

This investment enabled the council to directly link service requests from residents and council staff, such as emergency evacuations, requests for sand bags and reports of damaged manhole covers or blocked drains, directly to an existing web based mapping tool. In less than 48 hours the MyMaps application was delivering a regularly refreshing map of flooding incidents directly fed from the CRM in close to real time.

This innovative use of existing technology and council created information, developed during a time of extreme pressure, was to prove the building block for the management of service delivery during the following months. Requests from residents for post flood services, such as removal of damaged goods, were mapped and analysed using the MyMaps application, enabling the council to prioritise requests and effectively manage the clean up operation.

The council’s Flood Support System (FloSS) is also based around the MyMaps application. Results of a survey of households were added to the system, categorised by the level of support required, and this information was mapped against the known extents of the flood. This enabled households to be identified who were thought to have suffered damage but had yet to contact the council. It also enabled cross referencing with other essential service delivery areas and back office applications such as Social Care.

Key benefits

  • The use of LLPG and LSG enabled the response to be far speedier than it would otherwise have been. It enabled more effective targeting of resource. It reduced duplication, error and rework. It has also helped all interested parties reach a common understanding of what work needs to be done and where, so as to continue to aid citizens to best effect.
  • Creation of a sophisticated reporting and management tool for the communication and analysis of the unfolding emergency enabling the effective deployment of limited resources and reducing risk to life and property.
  • Successful integration of existing technology and council maintained information for the management of the ongoing clean up and reinstatement operation, resulting in a 90% reduction in the staff resources required for house \to house survey.
  • Proof of concept that has been rolled out to other service delivery areas for non flood related incidents and requests; for example an improved management tool for the collection of bulky waste items across the city.
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