The address team at Wychavon District Council carried out an extensive data cleansing exercise of the authority address data. Through the improved data quality, the team can support digital transformation by using the validated address data to link up information across the authority to provide a consistent, joined-up view of data.
The purpose was to ensure that the addresses held were accurate and all duplicate or "rogue" addresses were removed. This involved cross referencing between different data sources, such as council tax and non-domestic rates, as well as the electoral register system.
This was a painstaking exercise. Some addresses had been held as "quoted" by the owner and bore no resemblance to their true geographical location and in most cases changed every time they quoted their address, therefore creating a duplicate address; or where they preferred to live in a village – they omitted the road name.
All records were assigned a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN). This provides a unique key for each record to enable linkages with other data sources.
There are strong links now between the council tax, non-domestic rates and electoral register, with regular notifications of new records. All new requests are matched to a UPRN or if there is a query, checked to verify the authenticity of the property. The records also contain important information about the other data sources, such as council tax reference numbers.
The team now have:
- no duplicate addresses across the authority
- addresses are correct and verified
- all addresses are officially registered and the relevant departments notified.
There are several key outcomes as a result of this exercise:
- Any new request for an address is checked to see if there is planning permission. If there isn't, the planning department is notified – joining up services together.
- Properties that have not been paying council tax have been located through linking together with the electoral register.
- Further unknown properties have been located through linking to the new bin request forms.