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Operation lock down: identify, eliminate and infiltrate

NLPG Exemplar Award Best Practice – Best Business Process Transformation 2009: London Borough of Lewisham.

For the last year, the London Borough of Lewisham has been executing Operation Lock Down, a two tier project that aims to ‘track down’ and ‘eliminate’ third party address datasets and ‘infiltrate’ the NLPG into every service delivery area and back office system. In the current financial climate, it was deemed unacceptable that departments within the organisation were unnecessarily paying for legacy third party databases.

The first stage of Operation Lock Down was to make the LLPG available to every department and every staff member via the council’s Intranet. This pre-empted the first hurdle ‘I can’t access it!’ Lewisham’s LLPG team then began a comprehensive address data audit, in order to identify departments using, and therefore paying for, redundant third party solutions. The target completion date for the NLPG proliferation programme is April 2011, by which time all external sources of address data within the council will have been identified and replaced by the NLPG.

The second stage of Operation Lock Down was to establish and implement an address management guidance in line with the British Standard for the representation of addresses (BS7666) and NLPG convention guidelines. This included an Integration Policy to which all NLPG integrated back office systems have to sign up and adhere to.

Outcomes

By replacing surplus address datasets with the NLPG, the London Borough of Lewisham has achieved what can be described as, in Gershon terms, both cashable and non-cashable efficiency gains.

The three areas, Customer Complaints, Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Planning, which were considering purchasing new third party products, have reconsidered. This has released funds that would have been spent on the procurement of new licences – a cashable efficiency gain – and, with the adoption of the NLPG, they are receiving a higher quality address database and service - a non-cashable gain. Additional gains are on the horizon with the council’s Integrated Children’s System, Integrated Adults’ System and with the Education Department also due to replace the use of third party products with the NLPG.

Departments and service delivery areas that had already adopted the NLPG as their only address resource, namely Electoral Register, Council Tax and National Non Domestic Rates, together with CRM, Customer Complaints and Planning, are all sharing the same data information management resource. By rationalising the maintenance and management of the NLPG, rather than developing isolated pockets of experience and expertise, Lewisham Council has realised further efficiency gains, with resources available for deployment elsewhere in the business.

With the adoption of the NLPG in the provision of frontline services, the London Borough of Lewisham has achieved tangible benefits for its citizens. The CRM is helping Lewisham to identify customers and build an ongoing dynamic relationship with them, and the use of NLPG has helped improve the Council’s National Indicator for Avoidable Contact (NI14).

Prior to Operation Lock Down, the Planning Department received regular complaints from residents whom it had failed to include in the planning permission notification process. Since its adoption, the NLPG has directly improved the targeting of customer correspondence and therefore the quality of service to citizens.

Key benefits

  • Measurable, cashable and repeatable efficiency gains through the discontinued use of legacy third party datasets, with direct savings in licence procurement costs and indirect savings in product support.
  • Non-cashable efficiency gains achieved by the rationalisation of data management and maintenance resource into a single team.
  • Tangible improvements in customer service with effective targeting of correspondence, resulting in a direct reduction in complaints.
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