Connecting Data for Better Outcomes - case study from Rushmoor Borough Council for GeoPlace Exemplar Awards 2017
The Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) has been used by Rushmoor Borough Council to make savings and reduce costs throughout their departments.
First widely used within the council in 2005, the UPRN has now evolved to be part of most council functions. This has included creating the ‘In my area’ tool on the website, designed to increase customer satisfaction and improve local information and all built on data using the UPRN.
The use of the UPRN at Rushmoor Council has evolved over the last 12 years. Data cleansing has been carried out to remove incorrect and duplicate properties across council systems and to add the UPRN.
This enables matching, mapping and analysis work to be carried out across council datasets.
Importantly, to eliminate issues with incompatible software, Rushmoor Council have a written IT policy that all new software must be compatible with the gazetteer and use the UPRN.
Rushmoor Council have linked their main systems together using the UPRN. Promotional events such as Gazetteers@GIS Day and presentations to staff have resulted in a broad understanding of the UPRN and its use within the many council functions. There is a constant flow of address information around the council. This eliminates any issues associated with lack of communication and when problems arise they are easily resolved.
A key use of the UPRN is its use as a billing reference number. This number is used by the Valuation Office Agency (VOA) and means that any property data they provide can be easily identified and linked to properties within council systems.
How is the data connected?
The creation of the ‘In my area’ tool on the council website has been enabled by utilising the UPRN. It allows residents to enter their address and see what is happening around them. This includes: recycling and waste information, local councillors, nearest polling station, council tax band, closest amenities and the nearest doctors and dentist surgeries. A map is available showing the location of the local amenities. This has the potential to improve the lives of residents and in return increase customer satisfaction with the council. Further to this, it allows residents to answer questions they may have through the online services, cutting council staff time and costs.
What are the outcomes?
With years of experience in using UPRNs, the council are able to carry out every day activities, whilst saving time and money for the council. Key benefits include:
• increased customer satisfaction and understanding from functions such as ‘In my area’
• UPRNs within datasets allows easy data analysis and creation of maps
• more efficient, less wasted time
• easy to maintain, with no confusion as all areas of the council work together
• close to 100% match rate against external datasets for the last 5 years.