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Building intelligence for council contracts

NLPG Exemplar Award Runner-up – Most creative use 2008: Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames.

In preparation for a new waste and recycling contract the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames embarked on an ambitious property level survey of the Authority.

Using the NLPG as a base, a dedicated team of surveyors walking every street, examining every front door, captured a wealth of information, including; updates to the existing NLPG Land Use classification, verification of the authority’s Council Tax database and specifically detailed, up to date information for the new waste and recycling contract.


A joint project between the council’s directorate of environmental services and the central information communication technology department, the survey was meticulously planned, including a soft market testing exercise and rigorous staff training. Joined up working, at every stage, between all interested parties, was fundamental to the project’s successful completion.

The remit of the survey team was to inspect the front of every property for the number of doorbells and / or utility meters, confirm or adjust the existing BS7666 2006 land use classification and record information related to refuse collection logistics. An in-house developed mobile PC variant of the Council’s GIS and gazetteer management solutions had already been developed for use by street lighting and highway inspectors and this was readily modified for the purpose of the property survey.

Each morning a download was made from the central NLPG for use in the field by the surveyors, the result of the day’s work being uploaded on the surveyors return each evening. Stringent quality control procedures included authentication controls for updates, automatic exports to the national NLPG hub, support and debriefing from the council’s LLPG technician and permanent land surveyors and reference to existing information resources including a database of 360 degree street photography.

As planned the collected data formed an accurate and up to date base for the negotiation of a contract for waste and recycling services within the borough. The coverage and depth of information included in the tender documents gave a high level of confidence in the data from potential contractors resulting in best value bidding.

In addition to meeting the original aims and objectives of the project, the survey also resulted in updates and enhancements to other essential information resources. The land use classification of the NLPG, originally created from a desk based study of existing databases, was verified and updated and the source data on which the survey was based, the NLPG, was also validated. These by-products of the survey have in turn led to improvements in quality of and confidence in essential resources such as the Council’s customer relationship system and council tax database.

Key benefits

  • A detailed, accurate and up to date knowledge base on which tenders for frontline services can be based, giving potential contractors a high level of confidence on which to base their bid and therefore securing best value for the Council.
  • Validation and verification of existing essential information resources including the Borough’s Council Tax database and the land use classification that forms part of the NLPG.
  • Improved performance and service efficiencies should be realised as a result of the information gathered resulting in tangible benefits for the residents of the Borough, specifically in the day to day execution of waste and recycling collections.
  • A proven model for joined up working and collaboration between service delivery teams and support services underpinned by technical innovation and excellence.
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