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At the heart of government

NLPG Exemplar Award Highly commended – Best business process transformation 2008: Caradon District Council.

Utilising the latest internet technology, Caradon District Council has transformed the use of the NLPG making the data accessible to all users of the council’s intranet service, engaging with staff and providing access to property level data at the click of a button.

Project ‘Gazetteer’ is built upon an intranet, interactive, map based search engine that allows users to search for a property spatially, by reference number or by any part of the address. Search criteria are matched against the NLPG, returning not only the full address but also a range of service information relating to the chosen property. Project Gazetteer also provides a mechanism for staff to interact with the NLPG reporting anomalies and providing suggestions or comments on the data or project as a whole.

Outcomes

Project Gazetteer is an interactive, map based search engine accessible to all users of the council’s Intranet service and is designed to promote the use of the NLPG across the council and to encourage all ‘address based’ systems to integrate and make use of the data. On entry, users are faced with a map window, mapped points from the spatial element of the NLPG and spatially referenced street data. The system can be interrogated using basic map controls, such as zoom in, out, pan or ‘go to’ a selected point; or a specific property can be searched for using either the Unique Property Reference Number or a partial address.

Once a property or location has been selected, additional information can be accessed with a simple click of the mouse button. Details such as parish, ward, refuse and recycling collections and council tax details, together with a summarised property history from building control, development control and listed building are all currently available.

In addition users have the ability to report anomalies in the returned NLPG data. Options include missing property, incorrect location, incorrect address and incorrect street. Reported anomalies are directed, in the first instance, to the NLPG Team, where additional research is made to cross match missing properties or incomplete addresses with other council databases such as non domestic rates and council tax. Users can also provide feedback to the NLPG team on both the data and the overall service.

By engaging with users of the intranet service, Project Gazetteer has already made measurable improvements in the accuracy of the NLPG without additional resources or input from the NLPG team. Due to the graphical and ergonomic design of the service it is easy to use by non-technical staff and the ‘fun’ element encourages use. Other areas of gain include reduced data duplication, with its associated maintenance and administration; improved access to property related service information, specifically by CRM staff who are able to handle more enquiries at the first point of contact; and a return on investment resulting in the sale of address change intelligence to third parties.

Project Gazetteer has been selected as part of the address management project for local government reorganisation. It’s benefits and functionality have been realised and will be implemented centrally across Cornwall. This tool will allow access from all current Cornish Authorities to help increase data and spatial accuracy of their own LLPG before and during the LLPG amalgamation phase. Post transition, it is planned to allow the system to be used by the public and also the potential 22,500 staff of the new Cornwall Council to help with the Transformational Government Initiative. The tool provides address based information that spans departments, and therefore, provides a ‘joined up’ way of working for both departments providing the information and those needing it. When it is implemented as a One Cornwall tool for address information it will enable all current councils to work together to help create an accurate LLPG for Cornwall.

Key benefits

  • A validated NLPG database with a significantly improved accuracy match rate that has been adopted and embraced by staff throughout the organisation.
  • Improvement in the provision of frontline services with staff empowered to deal with citizen enquiries at first point of contact.
  • Measurable return on investment through increased efficiency, reduced administration and commercial agreements with third party organisations.
  • Innovative use of new technology to build a flexible yet robust solution that has achieved recognition and support, joining up service provision within the council and demonstrating best practice ahead of local government reorganisation.
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