“How do we ensure software will consume address data correctly?"
"How do we make sure it will do it in the best way for us?"
"And how do we make sure that we can purchase software with confidence?”
These seem like simple questions, but finding answers is not always easy. Local authority procurement teams are the guardians of this process, but defining the technical requirements for location-based applications is filled with complexities and nuances which can be extremely challenging to pin down. As a result, key technical criteria can often be missed or not included at all, which can lead to compatibility and functionality issues further down the line.
GeoPlace’s new procurement support tool solves this problem. It is a technical criteria-defining tool for address data requirements that delivers certainty for local authorities for the commissioning and purchase of new local authority systems’ software… and it only takes 3 minutes to use.
100% confidence at source
The procurement tool for address data creates tailored criteria statements for use in the definition of tender requirements and evaluation.
These criteria provide a starting point for local authorities and can be customised where needed. Using these criteria, suppliers can confirm and evidence how their solutions can meet the criteria. The tool is designed to give bespoke requirements for any individual system – and this enables a thorough, pre-purchase evaluation of functionality for the local authority.
Why is the tool needed?
On the 2nd of April 2020, the Government announced that the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) and Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) have been released under Open Government Licence. Additionally, the Open Standards Board, via Government Digital Service (GDS), mandated that from 1st July 2020, the UPRN and USRN should be the standards for referencing and sharing property and street information.
We’ve been listening to local authorities carefully. What we’re hearing is that some authorities have procured software that can’t handle address data in the intended way. Usually, this is for one of two reasons:
- Because there were no address data handling criteria included in the evaluation process
- Because the criteria that were used, were generic and open to interpretation – so they were easily marked as “met” by potential suppliers.
Unfortunately, in some cases this has led to software being adopted that simply can’t deliver the value or functionality that’s needed into the heart of local authority systems. A potentially costly mistake.
Some of the problems we’ve been made aware of, include adoption of software that lacks important address data functionality; unexpected and costly middleware tools to solve that problem, extra spend on consultancy or development, and the creation of unsustainable, manual workaround processes when this could be automated.
At a minimum level, local authority systems should be able to ingest the local authorities’ preferred address data, handle updates at the required intervals and use mandated key attributes such as the UPRN.
Who should be using the tool?
- Are you using address data for or with your local authority? (Are you a Principal Contact, an Authority Address Custodian or a GIS Officer for example?)
- Are you in direct contact with the local authority’s procurement teams?
- Are you supporting the creation of software procurement criteria for a local authority?
If so, then the tool will help you generate the criteria statements that are specific to each software system – quickly and easily.
It will help to prevent problems arising. It generates specific, very detailed statements for use in procurement and evaluation processes.
We’ve designed the tool to query what’s needed and why. A bespoke list of statements will be generated on a case-by-case basis for each piece of software, and a unique new set of criteria statements takes only seconds to generate.
How does it work?
We ask a number of short questions that will be familiar to address data professionals.
Based on the responses, the tool generates a list of customised procurement statements covering a wide range of address data themes.
As an example, these themes include:
Defining the right address data product to use
The criteria generated should identify suppliers who can consume the defined address data product in the format needed
Constructing addresses in the correct format and order
The criteria generated should identify suppliers who are able to construct a valid address from its component BS7666 fields as per the Address Data Entry Conventions v.3.4, Section 13
The frequency of automatic updates to address data
The criteria generated should identify suppliers able to support automated address updates at defined intervals
Generating reports about problems whilst loading address data
The criteria generated should identify suppliers whose products report on encountered load issues, not letting it go unnoticed
The criteria generated should identify suppliers whose products can handle the one-to-many relationships that exist in certain address data source
Exposing the UPRN in the system’s user interface
The criteria generated should identify solutions that promote awareness and visibility of the UPRN
Searching for an address using a UPRN
The criteria generated should identify suppliers whose products have a UPRN lookup tool, supporting rapid and definitive searching of properties
Suppressing or filtering properties based on various criteria
Ensures supplier solutions are able to filter out / include only specific record types as defined by the local authority, preventing irrelevant properties from being displayed causing potential confusion and delay
Generating reports and/or exports including the UPRN
The criteria generated should identify suppliers whose products can export UPRN-referenced data to support data insights and linking activities