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One address, one boundary, one council

NLPG Exemplar Award Best Practice – Best Business Process Transformation 2009: Chorley Council.

The Information Team at Chorley Council has a vision to create one definitive address for every property and parcel of land in the borough. Taking the promotion and application of the NLPG to the next level, this will not only standardise the format and use of textual address records across the organisation, but it will also create a full geographical record of property extents, improving the quality of spatial analysis across a range of directorates.

The initial step was to get the LLPG Strategy and LLPG Policy documents approved. These, respectively, outline the vision of the Information Team and detail the methods that would be used to implement the strategy, including procedures for the sharing of address intelligence.

The primary aim of the approved policy document is to provide a link from the LLPG to every third party application that uses address data, for example Council Tax, Revenues and Benefits, Electoral Register, and the newly introduced Customer Relationship Management (CRM) application. A combination of both live links and scheduled updates is being used, dependent on the specific requirements of the end user directorate.

For users without access to front office software linked to the LLPG, a web based search engine has been developed. Accessible via the council’s Intranet service – The Loop – Chorley Address List (CAL) is an easy to use application that provides access to both LLPG address records and UPRNs. The use of CAL has been promoted in the council’s weekly e-newsletter and users are encouraged to communicate any queries or additional address intelligence to the Information Team for ongoing maintenance.

The continued development of the LLPG at Chorley also includes a project to further develop the GIS resource by creating polygons of every Basic Land and Property Unit (BLPU). This will give the potential to improve the quality of spatial analysis, as the property curtilage polygon covers a wider ground area than a single address point. Additional efficiencies should also be achieved by creating the data once and using it across many different departments.

Outcomes

By centralising the creation and management of address data within a single team, efficiencies in day-to-day administrative tasks across a number of diverse directorates will be achieved by releasing staff time previously spent on address input and validation. The ongoing adoption of this data, either through CAL online look-ups or integration of the LLPG within third party systems, reduces the time taken to create mailing lists, improving the efficiency of communications with residents and the effectiveness of individual campaigns. With regular and widespread use of the data, additions, anomalies and/or queries are fed back to the Information Team for investigation. This engages users and gives staff confidence and a feeling of investment in the database.

The matching of LLPG data with Council Tax and Electoral Roll registers has identified properties not currently paying council Tax. This is an immediate income generator, with year on year repeatability, with the likelihood of more properties being identified. The centralised address resource will also contribute to a more accurate Census count in 2011, validating the funding allocation received from Central Government.

A consistent address on every piece of correspondence issued by the council not only reduces the threat of important letters going astray, but also demonstrates to the resident that the Council is efficient in its information management and professional in its approach. The use of the LLPG to pre-populate the newly introduced CRM system also increases the efficiency with which initial enquiries to the council are handled.

Key benefits

  • Adoption of the ‘one address, one boundary, one council’ policy has resulted in increased operational efficiencies, reduced administrative burden and an investment by staff in the ongoing maintenance of the LLPG.
  • Improved data analysis through the use of spatial references: either the UPRN point data or the more complex BLPU polygon, improving targeting of services and delivery efficiency.
  • Additional income of more than £16,000 already generated by identifying properties not on the Council Tax register. This is an ongoing revenue stream and it is anticipated that this figure will increase as more properties are identified.
  • Pre-population of address data in CRM improves the quality of service to citizens, reducing the time taken to deal with enquiries. The use of a consistent address across all communications also increases confidence in the professionalism of the Council.
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