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Easier fault reporting

NLPG NSG Exemplar Award Winner – Best integrated use of the NLPG and NSG 2008: London Borough of Haringey.

Local authorities throughout England and Wales are moving their services online because it is the lowest cost route. It is all very well moving transactions online but they have to be easy to use and provide an effective means of transferring information to relevant departments efficiently.

The London Borough of Haringey has done just that by introducing a new system that provides members of the public with the ability to report and ‘pin-point’ the location of a problem on to an online map. The system then transfers the information accordingly. Developed in house the system uses both the NLPG and the NSG as the source of location information, making it easier and faster for the public to provide precise information to the council.

The system is an extension of Haringey’s existing ‘Report a Problem e-form’. The user simply chooses the type of problem, for example refuse collection, and then moves through some simple steps to locate the problem with a final option of providing the precise location by dropping a pin onto a digital map. Depending on the type of problem the system will either interrogate the NLPG in the case of refuse collection, or the NSG in the case of a pothole or street lighting. These distinctions remain completely transparent to the user.

Any highways related problems are automatically fed into Haringey’s Highways Management System, which allocates each reported problem with a job number and a highways inspector upon receipt, eliminating the need for data entry by admin staff. The increased use of online form enquiries means less telephone calls handled by call centre staff, saving time and resources, which can be reallocated as required. The use of technical skills within the organisation means that this solution has been deployed at no extra cost.

The enhanced system enables departments like highways maintenance and parking services to deal with reports more efficiently as accurate location descriptions are right first time. Council staff do not need to contact citizens to try and gather further information for the purposes of processing the requests. By receiving improved quality of information from the citizen, officers are able to plan their site visits more effectively knowing the exact location of each job before leaving the office.

Outcomes

The London Borough of Haringey has taken its existing online fault reporting system and integrated it with web GIS and both its gazetteers to provide an elegant solution that speeds up processes, improves efficiency and service delivery and reduces cost.

An understanding of the strengths of both gazetteers has been useful in determining the way the system carries out searches. For example if a citizen wanted to report a problem regarding their refuse collection it is more useful for the system to provide a property level search on the NLPG. An NSG search is used, for example, on categories such as blocked drains or potholes where the nearest address is unlikely to be known. As the system expands, it will benefit further integration with other backend service delivery systems.

The success of the system has raised the profile of GIS and the gazetteers within the authority and plans are already in place to extend it with a ‘points of interest’ dataset to help with non-addressable locations.

Key benefits

  • Reduces cost per transaction through ‘avoidable contact’.
  • Using gazetteer searches and maps speeds up online fault reporting.
  • Precise location means no customer call back, as location is right first time.
  • Systems integration and automated processes helps departments to deal with problems more efficiently.
  • Customer services now happy and confident to refer citizens to the online forms process.
  • Has raised the profile of the gazetteers and GIS within the authority.
  • System developed in house with no additional spend.
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