NSG Exemplar Award: Winner – ‘Best Integration’ 2006: Kent County Council.
The NSG pre-dated the NLPG by a number of years, but the two are designed to be complementary. At the local level, apart from unitary authorities, different teams of people maintain the LSGs and LLPGs. The LSGs hold information about roads and associated street data that utilities companies need to know before they dig up the road, while the LLPGs hold land parcel data, property and address data. Both gazetteers are built of street records and should therefore contain the same street names, start and end points and record identifiers. This in turn means that it should be possible for a district council to build its LLPG from the LSG built by the highways authority.
However this wasn’t the case in Kent. As the 12 district 43 councils in Kent started to build their gazetteers, the LSG was found wanting and the pressure soon began to mount. Kent decided to act and resolve the differences between the county gazetteers, highways referencing and LLPGs by construction of a Digital Local Framework, Kent’s integrated gazetteer and highways management system. Interests were brought together within the Kent Geographical Information (GI) Forum and pockets of good practice were shared. All the individuals involved began to recognise the skills and experience that could be brought to the table. This collaboration resulted in a published document, ‘Best Practice for Maintenance of the Kent LSG’. This has changed the processes involved in the following ways:
- Street Naming and Numbering Officers now divert data inputs away from County to the district council LLPG custodians. This reduces significantly the administrative burden of LSG maintenance by slimming down LSG data input to monthly reports of new streets, changes and deletions from each of 12 LLPG Custodians. These monthly LLPG reports are sent, with data quality checklists, added commentary and maps to a dedicated Kent LSG email address.
- District LLPG custodians are now responsible for street names and also their USRN street record identifiers and attributes, while the County LSG custodian manages all spatial data, road number records, cross-referencing, mapping, adoption status, designations and street works restrictions.
Kent County Council’s gazetteer management savings are already approaching 30 per cent. The currency and completeness of the data has improved dramatically and the county now has the resources for resolving anomalies between LSG and LLPGs.
With more resources available, Kent Highways is active in other areas for improving the LSG, including the timely addition of newly constructed roads and the quality and currency of Associated Street Data.
The processes are now in place and working to enable both the LLPGs and the County’s LSG to continue to improve. Soon the LSG inputs will come direct from the NLPG hub – promising a further improvement in efficiency.
‘Standardisation is key to tackling many of the most common problems that citizens and business experience in dealing with government. It provides the building blocks for responsive and personalised services. Standardisation of data systems, for example, can enable data to be shared between services, enabling citizens and business to provide simple information, such as change of address, only once.’ - Sir David Varney (Dec 2006); Service Transformation.
- Better communication and collaboration between the districts and the county has delivered better data quality and currency of both the LSG and LLPGs.
- Changes in processes and responsibilities have led to efficiencies at all levels.