NLPG Exemplar Award Runner UP – MoJ: Best Implementation of the Electoral Registration Data Standard 2009: High Peak Borough Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Strategic Alliance.
The Direction requiring Electoral Registration Officers to take steps to ensure that electors’ details are stored to a consistent standard prompted High Peak Borough Council and Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, through the Joint Strategic Alliance (JSA), to undertake an Elections Address Matching Project. Not only would this upgrade the Councils’ Electoral Registers to BS7666 standards, but also other operational and organisational opportunities were identified.
Operationally, by introducing the UPRN and BS7666 standard, information currently held in the Electoral Register ‘silo’ could be accessed corporately using dynamic database links. This would then enable information held within the ER to be cross-referenced, providing additional information for the identification of residential properties, in turn aiding the classification of BLPUs and, therefore, reinforcing the integrity of the LLPG data.
The Electoral Registration Team was also identified as a source of vital customer intelligence. For example, when occupiers of a new build contact the council to register to vote, the LLPG can be automatically updated and the property status changed to ‘Approved’. The change of status is then seamlessly fed into the council’s ‘My Property’ web page so that the customer can access information relevant to their property. Other service delivery areas will also be notified of the change of status through the corporate GIS and so, for example, Refuse can arrange for the delivery of bins and Council Tax will be aware the property is occupied.
The aim was that the address matching exercise would enable the Elections Team to benefit from the introduction of GIS as a medium for communicating information - particularly useful for the joint senior management team and Councillors - and as a tool to aid proactive decision making. Analysis of ER Information can, for example, enable the identification of Postal Voting properties and help Councils to be more efficient in promoting ‘take up’ of this service. The Strategic Alliance also hopes to aid social inclusion by identifying premises that may be eligible to vote but are not registered, therefore enhancing engagement by local residents.
The JSA between South Moorlands District Council and High Peak Borough Council is, relatively, in its infancy, although, through the Alliance Improvement Methodology for Services (AIMs) process, more and more back office services are working in partnership. The ER address matching presented an opportunity to engage further in partnership working, and to solve and troubleshoot problems experienced across both authorities, from project management through to day-to-day issues.
The ongoing integration of LLPGs across the Strategic Alliance has further solidified its position as the de facto corporate address resource. Members of the Election Team no longer maintain address information within their system; instead they feed intelligence to the LLPG custodian for verification prior to inclusion in the gazetteer and use within their own and other frontline service systems. This, in turn, has led to a reduction in officer time spent researching and inputting information on addresses, and has reduced the inefficiencies and errors associated with double handling of data.
The addition of UPRNs to ER information has opened up the use of the information across the Alliance. Through the council’s public-facing web service, citizens can access service information that is specific to their property, such as local Councillor information or nearest polling station. The corporate GIS resource ensures other departments have real time access to update information, and provides all services with the ability to undertake a wide range of locational analysis.
- Enforcement of the ‘Tell Us Once’ initiative increasing customer service levels; facilitating self service mechanisms; improving communication and contributing to the pro-active provision of services.
- Ongoing validation and improvement of the LLPG with field intelligence gained from canvassing and registration fed into the gazetteer.
- Introduction of GIS analysis providing better location intelligence, improving efficiency and reducing time spent on canvass.
- Reinforcement of both internal working relationships and those between the Strategic Alliance members, offering further opportunities for joined up working in the future.