Delivering service improvement through addressing: Stoke-on-Trent City Council.
Believing that empowering staff results in improved services, Stoke-on-Trent City Council is sharing NLPG-derived benefits as widely as possible across the authority. In-house programming and a rigorous process requiring LLPG usage mean that all end-user systems in the council now employ the gazetteer’s address and unique referencing. One of these applications is the online mapping service, ‘CityMap’, a data-rich GIS tool that improves decision making for all authority staff.
Better decision making and task ownership
As a result of being linked to CityMap, Stoke-on-Trent’s own intranet-based mapping system, the council’s LLPG is used by 3,000 staff. Each user can locate an address with the LLPG’s UPRN and co-ordinate to a map for that street. As Mike Whalley, e-Champion Officer explains: ‘The power of CityMap lies in the ability to view and interrogate correct addresses with mapping or imagery – this enhances the confidence levels and integrity of Stoke’s data and services.’
The LLPG plays a central role across the authority’s service areas, in particular for benefits. ‘Linking address information in this area is a key requirement’, says Brian Penlington, LLPG Manager. ‘Staff need to know that an address is correct and have to be able to link to the council tax and rent reference numbers for a property. Using the LLPG allows them to do this with confidence and helps reduce fraudulent claims.’
Whilst outright cost savings are difficult to calculate because there is no clear balance-sheet representation of how the LLPG has improved services, Brian stresses there are ‘soft’ savings based on overall efficiency improvement, a reduction in staff time required to reconcile addresses, and an increase in confidence in the council’s information.
And he can point to tangible improvements. ‘It is now easier to detect occupied premises that are not registered for council tax because of the way the benefits system is linked to the LLPG. A recent example was the discovery of 26 flats that were found to be without council tax provision. As a result, we have a potential improvement of £18,200 for the authority, and this is only one of quite a few instances that are discovered each year.‘
Corporate approach spreads benefits
This centralised approach and penetration of the LLPG within the authority mean that the majority of the council’s employees are, in some way, benefiting from the LLPG – and service levels across the authority are improving. ‘Benefits is a case in hand of how important the NLPG is’, Brian maintains. ‘Authority staff seeking to pay out a benefit cannot actually do so unless they have a UPRN for it. This ensures that the benefits data is using the LLPG and linking to other systems data. This may seem pedantic but it is fundamental. Given that land and property data is held in the vast majority of the authority’s systems, it’s crucial that this is standardised. Our LLPG gives us the confidence in our data and the standardisation of addressing protocols necessary to link our data. We can view related information that was previously unrecognised and, as a result, make better business decisions.’
Brian Penlington, LLPG Manager said:
"It is now easier to detect occupied premises that are not registered for council tax because of the way the benefits system is linked to the LLPG. As a result, we have a potential improvement of £18,200 for the authority, and this is only one of quite a few instances that are discovered each year.”