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Underpinning unification

NLPG Exemplar Award Runner Up – Best Business Process Transformation 2009: Cornwall Council.

In April 2009, Cornwall Council came into being as one of eight new Unitary Authorities in England, replacing two-tier Government in a region that stretches over a huge geographic area from the river Tamar in the East to Land’s End in the West.

Underpinning this unification and the drive to deliver both better services and better value for money is a single BS 7666 compliant Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG). Under the old two-tier system, there were six LLPGs, established at different times, maintained using different software by staff working in different departments and councils.

Becoming a unitary authority obviously has its problems but it also presents significant opportunities. The old councils (already well connected through panCornwall working groups) were keen to develop an integrated approach to managing addresses. A single definitive list could be used by as many business applications as possible, both to fulfil the promise of ‘create once, use many times’ efficiencies and to make the improvements in service delivery that one might expect as a result.

The move to a single unified gazetteer would not only deliver savings in terms of software licenses and maintenance, but also remove the need for the costly process of intermittently merging the gazetteers for the new council’s National Land & Property Gazetteer (NLPG) submissions. In August 2008, at an early stage of its preparations for ‘going unitary’, the ‘ONECornwall IT Workstream Programme Board’ gave the go-ahead for the new ‘Address Management Project’.

Since then Cornwall’s Address Management Team managed to create a new single Cornwall-wide gazetteer, whilst ensuring business and service continuity for the few business systems that still rely on the old gazetteers in the short term. The NLPG hub accepted Cornwall’s single unified gazetteer in advance of the 1st April 2009 deadline: a significant achievement. The gazetteer is now collectively managed by the Address Management Team, who still sit in different parts of the county, preserving one of the NLPG’s greatest strengths: local knowledge.

Outcomes

There are a number of potential benefits that accrue from successful project delivery. These include providing effective address management for Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rates, and working with the Office of National Statistics (ONS) on the 2011 Census to maximise Cornwall’s Revenue Support Grant. A single accurate gazetteer would also support improved service delivery through One-Stop-Shops and an integrated Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system which is part of the Council’s Customer First Programme.

A unified gazetteer for Cornwall has also led to a single council-wide policy and workflow for Street Naming and Numbering (SNN) to provide consistent new addresses in support of the planning process and ongoing gazetteer maintenance.

The Address Management Team has now moved on to working with the new countywide Revenue and Benefits System Implementation Team. It also provides the hub for a new system supporting Planning, Building Control, Land Charges and Public Health and Protection. This last deployment alone will have over 600 system users.

Elsewhere and outside the Council, preparations for the move to a new Fire and Rescue Service Command and Control Centre in Taunton are underway. Part of this work includes the matching of Cornwall Council’s gazetteer to the Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service mobilising gazetteer. This is being supported by the Address Management Team via a web mapping site, along with email and face to face meetings.

The Cornwall Address Management Team also supports the Electoral Registration Service with the Ministry of Justice’s ‘Coordinated Online Register of Electors’ (CORE) initiative. This has involved automated address matching with the Electoral Roll and assistance with reintroduction of the data into the system supporting it. Once again, an intranet based web mapping site is being used to help with the process, sending emails directly to the Address Management Team’s shared inbox to enable the best use of available resources.

Key benefits

  • Significant savings in gazetteer software licences and maintenance.
  • Significant cost avoidance through combination of gazetteers for regular NLPG hub submissions.
  • New unified SNN Policy.
  • Enabled council wide systems adoption for key business areas.
  • Provides the basis for ongoing business area transformation.
  • Simplified working for FiReControl adoption of the NLPG.
  • Close cooperation with Ministry of Justice CORE program.
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