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Promoting address and street data within your authority - a 'how to' guide

This paper provides a structure to help create the case to convince internal managers and stakeholders of the benefits and value of integrating street and address data into their systems and processes.

What does this paper aim to do?

This paper provides a structure to help create the case to convince internal managers and stakeholders of the benefits and value of integrating street and address data into their systems and processes.

Those responsible for street and address data recognise its potential value but getting the appropriate messages to key audiences is critical to success in its wider take-up, particularly at a time when there is competition for limited resources.

The paper is based on presentations and content produced by Gesche Schmid, Local Government Association, and Nick Chapallaz, Socitm Consulting at the ‘Everything Happens Somewhere’ conference in 2012. The slides are available via a web link at the end of this paper as are their contact details.

Who is this paper for?

This paper is for those with responsibility or a stake in the success of the creation and maintenance of authority address and street data to help promote the value of the data and their work to senior management across the organisation.

For Custodians and those who manage data, the content and structure of this paper may provide the opportunity to enlist support and help from others with insight across the organisation such as business analysts and change managers.


Much has been documented about the challenges currently faced by local authorities, and that includes teams responsible for street and address data management. The difficulty is the value and benefits delivered by less highprofile back office functions including street and address data management i.e. those that don’t deliver a direct service to citizens, are often the hardest to justify.

Promotion of address and street data within your authority should aim to achieve take-up and integration directly into business critical and high-profile citizen facing services. By reaching out to demonstrate the value they can support service improvement; provide cost reduction through process improvement and provide error avoidance through increased data accuracy and efficiency through common referencing. Gazetteer teams will be better placed to avoid on-going threats to resources and funding and instead become recognised providers of a high-value asset that are critical to the organisations success. By doing so authorities can further realise benefits from the investment they have made in creating and maintaining the data and also contribute to joining-up the public sector and growing the national economy.

When internal delivery deadlines and requirements are at their peak, carving out time to promote street and address data integration may feel like a ‘nice to have’. Equally promotion is critical. Success could bring increased resource investment and consequently an opportunity to reduce the pressure on street and address data teams and increase data quality. It is important to consider how to make time and perhaps setting aside small amounts of dedicated time on a regular basis may be one way to begin to gain momentum.

A structure for promoting your street and address data

In the commercial world ‘Promotion’ is commonly recognised as marketing and communication to gain a sale of a product or service.

The approach

In the local authority and gazetteer context it is perhaps more appropriate to think of promotion as communication to secure ‘engagement’ with those who can support integration and provide the necessary funding.

The following steps outline an approach to build the compelling story to support internal promotion and engagement from the perspective of you target audience and their needs.

  1. Set your goal
  2. Identify who to engage (target)
  3. Investigate their key drivers and issues
  4. List business needs and problems
  5. Match data capabilities to each need
  6. List outcomes and benefits
  7. Compile evidence to back up
  8. Engage!

The sections that follow describe these steps in more detail.

Promoting address and street data within your authority

Step 1: Set your goal

Begin promoting the value of address and street data within the organisation by defining what you want to achieve.

At the top level one example might be:

“My goal is to ensure that my organisation recognises that street and address data are fundamental enablers of efficiency and process improvement integration and core to citizen service improvement”

Alternatives might be similar goal or goals relevant to your own organisation. Think about linking with wider agendas. Examples of current and future opportunities for address and street data to make a real difference include:

• new models of local public service delivery and commissioning

• new public health responsibilities and outcome focused adult social care

• school place provision, school improvement, supporting vulnerable pupils

• re-localising council tax and business rates

• capital and assets programme increases efficiencies and growth

• efficiencies in waste management and increase in recycling rates

• Green Deal – Improvement and self-regulation for energy and climate

• effective flood risk management

• meeting the varying housing needs of the communities

• neighbourhood planning registers to empower local communities

• Smart Cities – linking citizens with city services electronically

In addition to overall goals it is helpful to consider defining a number of related SMART (specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and timely) objectives to help define progress.

Understanding how to reach your goal and ideal desired outcome can be challenging. Consider using a ‘gap analysis’ by asking simple questions such as:

• which departments and services are currently using the data?

• who could use the data and currently isn’t?

With 100 or more well documented teams, processes and services as potential targets for integration the opportunities for adding value with street and address data are considerable. Creating a ‘long list’ relevant to your authority would be a good output at this stage, but keep it simple, it can be prioritised later.

Step 2: Identify who to engage with (target)

With an overall goal, related objectives and a long list of targets for promotion and engagement the next challenge is to prioritise who to engage with first.

Consider prioritising the list on the basis of organisational relevance and profile of target service, likely effort to achieve integration and potential impact to ensure time spent gives the greatest return. One approach is to produce a stakeholder map such as Mendelow’s Power-interest grid (Aubrey L. Mendelow, Kent State University, Ohio 1991).

Follow this by listing stakeholder names, systems and departments in each column as appropriate. The output should provide you a focused set of stakeholders targets.

Step 3: Investigate their key drivers and issues

Critical to the success of engagement is the ability to consider and discuss issues and potential benefits from your target stakeholder perspective.

Identifying the key drivers and issues will enable you to understand the context in which they are operating and the relevance and opportunities for gazetteer data integration.

Step 4: Identify and list stakeholder needs and problems

This is the most critical step of the process: selecting an initial target department, for example Council Tax, and making a list of the specific business needs that they have on a daily basis, for example accurate and up to date residential data.

Do not just include those you perceive to be relevant to street and address data service integration but consider the wider operation of the department. Be as specific as possible, ask contacts or work with others in your team. It is these needs that enable you to think and discuss services from the perspective of your stakeholder audiences – a critical input to engagement.

The output should be a list of several business needs or critical tasks that your target department conducts. This provides input to step 5.

Step 5: Match data capabilities to each need

Against each business need identify if street and / or address data can meet, support or improve that need. Identify what aspect of the data or integration service could be used and the practicalities of doing so.

For example, if your council tax department has a need to improve their capture of new addresses, the gazetteer can potentially meet this need by providing a live feed of new address data dynamically; or if the travel planning team require details of all schools in the borough, you can interrogate the address data to provide this information and meet that need.

Step 6: List outcomes and benefits

For each need which street and address data can meet, support or improve list the outcomes and benefits it could realise for that department and the organisation as a whole.

It is essential this is from the perspective of your target stakeholder, not your own, featuring street and address data but aspects that are relevant to your target audience.

Wherever possible quantify the benefits in financial terms perhaps using pay scales to translate time-saved in processes. For example in terms of speed of process, time and therefore cost saved, reduction of overheads or duplication or improvement of service. Use of the esd toolkit Activity Based Costing method (www.esd. org.uk/costarchitecture available to subscribing authorities) or similar tools may be of help.

Step 7: Compile evidence to back it up

To make promotion credible and believable it should be backed up by examples and evidence that what you claim is possible.

This may come from internal sources, reviews and previous experience, alternatively external case studies that demonstrate equivalent improvements in other authorities can be extremely powerful. The NLPG Exemplar Award case studies and the GeoPlace website and Knowledge Hub provide excellent sources as do your Regional Chairs and Custodian colleagues in other authorities. Further sources and examples are available in the presentation link at the end of the presentation, including:

• good management of address and street data leads to estimated

• efficiency savings per year of £100,000 for an average authority

• makes processes faster and more efficient

• provides more accurate delivery of services

• improves new services and underpins transformation

• 80% of council services relate to an address or street

Click here for case studies and awards brochures on the GeoPlace website.

As well as promoting the value of the data, we also recognise the significance of role of the Custodian. Providing an outline description of the value of the role can help further strengthen your overall credibility. Consider, and list your tasks that add value to the development and operation of the organisation, for example:

• keepers of local knowledge and intelligence for places, streets, services, properties, contracts, delivered through maintenance of central address and street data

• provision of the central source of the latest property change information from including planning and Street Naming and Numbering

• removal of data silos by matching and maintaining data from multiple address and street data sources

• removal of duplication by linking with other business systems: Council Tax, Electoral role, Planning, CRM, Environment, Revenues and Benefits, Social Services

• providing a cross reference link to external data sources including the Valuation Office

• supply address and street data under contract to GeoPlace in return for Ordnance Survey map data

• Providing Customer Insight by linking services to services, citizen to citizen, services to citizen.

• maintaining records of road works and links to public rights of way

• promote efficient data management and effective analysis

Step 8: Engage!

Content from the previous preceding steps means you are well placed to build your story and proposal for target key stakeholders.

The steps will enable you to show you understand their business drivers and issues; demonstrate you understand their needs you can potentially support and improve; show what they could expect as an outcome and back this up with evidence. In the first instance you may want to validate you view of needs and outcomes, but this can be a useful research exercise to begin to build relationships with other key teams.

In terms of setting up meetings and discussion with teams or departments you do not know directly consider using your networks and networks of your managers and leaders with an interest in the success of street and address data to make the first contact. It can feel like a time consuming exercise but you recognise the critical role of street and address data in building a stronger local authority in the long term means it should underpin as many (appropriate) services and systems as possible.


The process and ideas set out are tried and tested across a range of industries and situations. It has helped make a genuine difference for many teams and organisations and this includes local government.

At first it can seem time consuming and challenging to run through the steps for every department or service you are aiming to integrate with. This may be true with the first run through but to make it faster why not bring key people together in a short workshop. There is no reason why you can’t compile the majority of content in a single morning or afternoon session.

Further advice

• Exploit your internal networks and connections to maximise the potential for integration of the gazetteer

• Keep needs as specific as possible and focus on outcomes for target stakeholders

• Consider setting aside regular dedicated time slots to focus on outreach and promotion

• Learn from others, use existing examples, resources and case studies, many of these are available on the GeoPlace website

• Take ownership of the challenge and know you can make a difference. Recognise its an on-going exercise, once you have made connections and integrated the data the links will need maintaining and supporting

• If you have any questions or specific concerns GeoPlace are here to help you

• If you feel you need to brush up on your skills, why not attend a GeoPlace training course

Promoting address and street data within your authority —a ‘how to’ guide - 1.50 MB

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