Exemplar Award Winner- Winner Integration Award and 2012 Exemplar 2012: London Borough of Harrow
In these times of austerity, London Borough of Harrow has been driven to make savings whilst maintaining service delivery. An upshot of this is that it has stimulated a wave innovation with the aim of delivering ‘more for less’.
This led to the creation of the ‘Harrow Address Lookup’ (HAL), a web-based system enabling staff to access and query the LLPG, view search results on a map and break down barriers by facilitating its own cross reference candidate process that they have developed in its entirety.
HAL was born out of the requirement to make cashable savings year-on-year. After reviewing their LLPG infrastructure and confirming each element was essential for ‘business as usual’ operations, the council concluded that they could not simply remove a software system, maintenance contract or software module, as there were just too many dependencies.
The council identified a web services product provided by a third party GMS company as a system they could replicate, thereby not only removing revenue expenditure (approx. £3,500 pa) but also opening the door for the creation of a web services package that could be moulded to their requirements and extended as their LLPG development plans dictated.
How the project was carried out
In order to reduce costs, all work for the HAL was conducted inhouse, utilising resources within the Web and GIS Team consisting of the LLPG Custodian and a web developer. In all, the design phase took approximately one week and the development time two weeks, a cost that can be quantified as approximately £2,100 in staff time.
Sitting behind a user-friendly front end, 17 SOAP web services were built that directly referenced their LLPG data. Also built into it was the ability for property cross references, such as Council Tax and NonDomestic Rates, to be assigned against a property by its users.
Web mapping services are utilised to display properties on a map and a communication mechanism was written in to allow users to alert the LLPG Custodian of any inaccuracies.
Launched in 2011, the HAL’s sole aim was to improve LLPG integration with council systems, as well as provide a platform for all staff to access this corporate resource.
Functionality includes a cross reference candidate process whereby teams across the council can assign their systems’ cross references against LLPG properties. These are then flagged to the LLPG Custodian for validation and, once approved, imported into the GMS with a click of a button as they take the form of a Change Only Update (COU), written in compliance with the DTF 7.3 v 3.1.
The aim of the HAL was to create cashable savings year-on-year by removing revenue expenditure of £3,500 pa for a third-party software solution offering similar functionality. This goal was achieved, but by embracing the principles of the council’s ‘innov8’ scheme, multiple unforeseen benefi ts were to be had.
Rather than the concepts of the LLPG being described to members of staff, it is now possible to show them exactly what it is via the HAL.
As such, the HAL has created an ‘LLPG Hub’ – LLPG infrastructure based on the single aim of improving integration and uptake.
The cross reference candidate process is enhancing integrations with other systems in an automated, efficient way which saves staff time in maintaining such linkages. The introduction of a property level ‘report a problem’ feature is also helping to improve the accuracy of the LLPG through enabling address queries to be captured and address intelligence to be gained from all HAL users.
Ultimately, what the HAL has shown is that the LLPG becomes a valuable asset when it is utilised, but becomes an invaluable one when it is integrated and when those integrations are leveraged.
• cashable savings of £3,500 pa
• in-house solution so costs to modify would be negligible
• staff time saved through automation
• uses the UPRN as the ‘logical glue’ to communicate explicitly on a property basis between systems • internal and external applications