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Improving access to council services

NLPG Exemplar Award: Highly Commended – ‘Most Improved’ 2006: London Borough of Lambeth.

Lambeth have worked hard to improve their LLPG which now contains details of over 164,000 property records and plots of land. The initial data matching exercise that took place in 2001 with the Electoral Roll, Council Tax, Non-Domestic Rates and Planning revealed 235,000 entries, 70,000 more than expected as a result of errors and duplication; this figure has been drastically reduced to less than 900 mid way through 2006.

At the start of the 2005/6 financial year, two major business priorities were outlined, firstly the resolution of outstanding queries and secondly the polygonisation (digitisation of property extents) BLPUs.

All BLPUs and LPIs requiring further investigation were colour coded, and soon became know as the red records. These were made up of 11,000 BLPUs and 12,000 LPIs. Part time staff with LLPG and GIS skills were tasked with reducing these numbers and by 2006 these amounted to less than 1 per cent of the total. The visibility of the red records made the process noticeable and highlighted the improvements being made, thereby increasing the confidence in the LLPG as the cross council address dataset.

The business case for the polygonisation exercise was:

  • To enable the Local Land Charge Search section to connect to NLIS, the tool used by solicitors to speed up the property search process.
  • For Lambeth Property Management to identify the extent of council owned and pre-owned land and property.
  • The need for other departments to be able to access property boundaries, primarily, Planning, Housing and Estates Management.
  • To improve the efficiency of system users, enabling them to simply copy BLPU property extents rather than digitising each time they are required.

Outcomes

During 2005/6 the quality of the LLPG has improved dramatically. Making the improvement process visible has resulted in growing confidence in the LLPG and there have been real time savings that have helped the call centre, planning and building control, to deliver improved customer service as a direct result. This has also helped Lambeth to become rated as one of London’s fastest improving boroughs.

‘Many of the most innovative examples of joined-up services found as part of this review are in the local government sector.’ - Sir David Varney (Dec 2006); Service Transformation.

Key benefits

  • This innovative use of the LLPG has enabled users of the data to understand the veracity of the information in the LLPG, leading to people trusting and understanding the data and how it should be used.
  • The improved LLPG facilitates both service delivery and the improved performance of the council, a fact backed up by Lambeth residents in the 2005 Residents Survey. Confidence in the NLPG has grown throughout the council.
  • There have been real time savings for Development and Building Control as a result of the digitisation of property extents. A rough estimate suggests this affects 90 per cent of over 6,000 applications received each year.
  • The council is now able to support connection with NLIS at level 3.



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