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Gazetteer improvements lead to better online service access

NLPG Most Improved 2007: London Borough of Hackney.

Created in 2004, the London Borough of Hackney’s LLPG has moved from strength to strength with the council submitting daily updates to the NLPG hub. Right from the start, the LLPG team were conscious that they needed to ensure a high match rate with the revenue system, Council Tax and NNDR.

From the beginning of the project the team were able to identify areas in the borough where properties were thought to be in an adjacent borough when in fact they were actually within Hackney. This meant that no taxes had been levied on these properties in the past. The LLPG is of a high standard and business process change is beginning to take place as a result. This includes transition to a new corporate document management system, which will be used by street naming and numbering, a mooted replacement of the gazetteer management system to facilitate further integration and linking with council systems.

A new web application, which allows citizens to search for a property and view a range of information about council services, makes particularly good use of the improved LLPG. The application has been a resounding success and popular with both internal and external customers. However Hackney realised that there was potential to do more; using the power of the LLPG to drive more web based transactions and become the entry point for the delivery of council services. The new ‘Hackney Where’ application is based upon a number of web services developed in house to facilitate further systems integration. ‘Hackney Where’ (www.map.hackney.gov.uk/hackneywhere/) unusually uses Google Maps, rather than licensed Ordnance Survey mapping, to present its information simply because the maps are considered easier to use and the street names easier to read due to not having to print OS copyright restrictions on the map. When the property is located, an information balloon appears containing the property UPRN, address, grid reference, street reference and Council Tax band.

Centred on the ‘found’ address, it is a simple matter to call up information about the Electoral Ward, Councillors, MP, Polling Station, whether the property is in a conservation area or is a listed building and it is possible to link to planning applications for that post code. It is also easy to find information about the Secondary and Primary schools, health facilities and practitioners; there are numerous links to external websites to provide further information related to the specific location. A ‘Find My Nearest’ feature is also available for quick distance based searches.

Using the built in facility with Google Maps, a user can click on one of the search results and a route will be drawn on the map from the starting property to the search destination. A list of routing instructions is also displayed.

Outcomes

The London Borough of Hackney has worked hard to improve the LLPG and is now focused on future integration projects that will leverage the power of its property based information. The LLPG has also enabled linking with other council held information to deliver a rich map based application, which is in daily use within the council and by the citizen at large providing much better access to services.

Key benefits

  • The improved LLPG is facilitating further business process integration and data sharing.
  • As a result of identifying new properties within the borough, tax revenues have been raised.
  • LLPG has enabled linking with many different sources of council held information, improving access both to customers within the authority and citizens within the borough.
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