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Proving protocol pays

NSG Exemplar Award: Highly Commended – ‘Best Gazetteer Integration’ 2007: Kent Highways Alliance.

Kent operates a formal partnership between Kent Highway Services (KHS) and private sector service providers Jacobs, Ringway and TSUK. This KHS Alliance partnership has established a set of business processes, protocols and tools for the management and integration of gazetteer and highways data.

Data integration has produced cost savings that have subsequently resourced investment into improvements to the quality, contemporaneity and completeness of Kent’s Local Street Gazetteer and Highway datasets.


Kent’s LSG and Highway Network covers 1,500 square miles; comprises 22,000 Unique Street Reference Numbers; 120,000 items of Associated Street Data and 30,000 Pavement Management Sections. These are spatially located using a single GIS representation of 10,000 kilometres of road centreline.

The three essential elements of integration are:

1. The Kent Highways Network Data Management Team (NDM) – a ‘single source of truth’ that administers all changes to the Kent LSG, Street Works Data and the Highway Network.

2. A set of protocols and operating procedures for managing incoming data from definitive sources and the delivery of data to internal and external stakeholders in the Kent LSG.

3. The Network Change Management System – a custom application which audit trails all data changes and manages data editing workflow.

Prior to 2005, additions and changes to the Kent LSG were received in ad hoc fashion as paper documents without defined formats or data checks or routine; this was an administratively inefficient process.

Kent Highways and district councils cooperated to agree that the Kent LSG’s definitive source of street data should in future be the Local Land & Property Gazetteer Custodians’ and that the LSG Custodian should routinely supply spatial data back to LLPG Custodians’.

The switch to district LLPG data as the direct source of county LSG data was achieved using protocols to promote routine receipt of relevant, quality checked and properly formatted electronic data.

2006 saw a 30% gain in the efficiency of maintaining Kent Gazetteer and Highway Network data. These cost savings were re-invested in programmes which in turn generated further quality improvements and efficiency gains to fund the current and future developments. These are establishing the Kent LSG as the cornerstone of highway related applications and services.

In 2007 the NDM Team used these efficiency gains to support development of Kent Highways’ Network Change Management (NCM) System – an Oracle database that provides an audit trail linking all LSG and Highway Network changes to incoming e-documents. The NCM System also promotes network management efficiency by providing time alerts for editing actions and data queries and by regular reporting of work completed and work outstanding.

Key benefits

  • A comprehensive county street gazetteer increasingly well matched to district council property gazetteers, providing maintenance of a single spatial backbone for displaying both gazetteer and highway data.
  • 30% efficiency gains realised through the transformation of just one element of the data life cycle being reinvested in a data quality improvement programme with future gains earmarked for work with Kent Police in support of the Emergency Services Gazetteer.
  • A budget neutral initiative that has used business process reengineering to transform inefficient and outdated dataflow pathways into a reliable, efficient and provable data system managed by a recognised and accessible centre of expertise.
  • A successful Public Private Partnership driving improved communication and joined up working among Local Authority partners, external agencies and commercial organisations resulting in improvements to frontline service delivery.
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