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Keeping citizens informed about refuse collections

NLPG Exemplar Award: Winner – ‘Best Use Internally’ 2006: Sedgefield Borough Council.

For many citizens refuse collection is one of the few really visible services delivered by the local authority. There is nothing more frustrating than missing a collection, especially if you have no room to store an extra week’s waste. For this reason Sedgefield Borough Council decided to ensure that both refuse collection and information about it was delivered to a very high standard.

Before the advent of the LLPG, information about refuse collection was held on paper or through the local knowledge of bin men and their supervisor but over the last four years it has been georeferenced so that it can be queried in a GIS. Because the CRM was considered to be the main driver and was already using UPRNs from the NLPG, it was decided to carry out a data matching exercise to ensure that the CRM could access up to date refuse collection data. This was quite a simple process as the refuse collection data was geo-referenced and also held as a cross-reference in the gazetteer.

To ensure that the data was accurate, 43,000 domestic properties were checked to confirm that the collection rounds and days were correct. Other domestic collections such as special collections and green waste were also added at this time. To ensure that the data is kept up to date, new entries or changes to the LLPG are emailed to the ‘Street Scene’ Manager on a daily basis, who in turn returns the correct collection round and day of the week. Maps have been produced to visualise the rounds and days with existing and new properties clearly visible and countable, before they have even been built. This now enables the Street Scene Manager to have a much better understanding of the workload and distances involved and to reassess rounds as necessary, taking future growth into account.


The refuse information is now available in the CRM using the UPRN as the cross-reference and is also available across the council’s internet and intranet GIS, through the new Sedgefield Information Service (SIS). SIS uses the LLPG to pull out property information from several back office systems including council tax and the refuse collection database. The refuse collection database was the first database used to pioneer this service, which can now be accessed by the public over the web.

All the refuse collection data is held on the SIS server along with a copy of the LLPG and other GIS information. The refuse collection data is held in a simple table as the UPRN is used as the main identifier, no additional address information is required. All coordinates required for displaying a map are held within the LLPG copy for each UPRN.

‘We must be relentlessly customer-focused. Many people want a single point of contact for a range of services. The public are not interested in whether their needs are met by department X or agency Y, they just want a good, joined-up service where X and Y talk to each other and share information the public have provided. We should strive to meet this demand.’- Sir Gus O’Donnell, Cabinet Secretary

Key benefits

  • The LLPG has connected together many disparate systems and services and opened up silos of information not only to officers but also to the public. It has lead to efficiencies in data management and also in business processes and service delivery.
  • Data is now managed centrally once and used many times for queries through the call centre using the CRM and through the council’s website.
  • The LLPG is now used to join up many systems and services both to council staff across the intranet and to the public via the internet.
  • Efficiencies have been delivered in terms of data management, business processes and service delivery.
  • Processes within the Environmental Services Department have improved as a result of this work and the Street Scene team now has tools at its disposal to provide a proactive service
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