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NLPG Exemplar Award Highly commended – Most creative use 2008: Shepway District Council.

When Shepway District Council wanted to expand the availability of its ‘brown bin’ garden waste collection service, and to cover the cost by charging for it, they looked into the most efficient way of contacting its citizens to promote the service and administer both take-up and payment.

It was decided that the NLPG, using the UPRN as the service reference number, offered the most reliable source of address data available in order to produce the initial mailing. The Council also needed a simple way to collect payments and decided to use its existing ePayments system. The UPRN is the key used to verify the address, record the payments and provide the waste contractor with precise instructions.

The process was complicated by the fact that the contractor needed to know which properties already had a bin and had paid for the service, which properties did not have a bin but wanted the service and those who had a bin but did not want to continue to receive the service now that it was no longer free.

The original mailing to citizens in Shepway was created by selecting all residential properties, and then reduced them from 48,000 to 38,000 simply by identifying those properties, such as flats, that could not receive the service in the first place, giving a considerable saving in postage.

The system is very simple to administer. It enables the collection of payments, records the properties which have signed up for the services and produces reports for monitoring as well as for the outside contractor delivering the service. It took Shepway’s IT resource less than one month to design and deploy.

Outcomes

The public response to the new service was excellent. 12,000 payments were taken in the first two months following the initial mailing. 5,000 of these using the online facility, the lowest cost route, either directly via the Shepway website or through the contact centre where it is also used. To date 14,921 properties have paid for the service, many taking advantage of early payment to get a discounted rate. Revenue from the scheme stands at £320,000, which is in line with the business case projections, not allowing for discounts.

The service is now entirely self-financing and runs very efficiently. As a result the council have an accurate database of all properties using the garden waste collection service, which can be analysed spatially using GIS. The reporting system developed as part of the project enables the external contractor to run reports on demand and respond to new requests on a daily basis. This means that delivery of new bins is often achieved by the next day.

This is the first transactional service deployed via the Shepway website which uses the UPRN to perform a look up of the NLPG in each case. The project has provided a unique insight into the power of the UPRN to target specific services at particular properties and then facilitate subsequent service delivery. The project has raised the profile of the NLPG and will provide a model for other services in due course.

Key benefits

  • Self-financing service with low administration costs.
  • Provides the council with significant additional revenue.
  • High level of transactions carried out online.
  • Improved service with high take up by citizens.
  • Raised the profile of the LLPG and justified its use to enhance service delivery and save money in the longer term.
  • UPRN simplifies online transactions.
  • UPRN will be used as the key reference number for delivering other services in future.
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