In order to tackle growing levels of anti-social behaviour (ASB), Newham Council has introduced the compulsory licensing of all private rented accommodation across the borough.
In doing so it has become the first local authority in England to exercise discretionary powers available under the Housing Act 2004.
In addition to tackling the negative issues that occur due to poorly managed privately rented accommodation, the borough-wide Private Rented Property Licensing scheme has also streamlined the licence application process using automated systems.
To support the delivery of the project, the council created a bespoke 'smart' solution and with licences being wholly property based, address data and validation checks were central to both the licensing process and the system design.
Centred around the council's local address dataset, customers can now apply via an address-based online licensing solutio n, which was built from scratch in less than 12 months to provide an automated licensing service.
From the information entered by the customer, the application type, conditions and fees can all be calculated automatically, which delivers huge efficiency savings with regards to administration, particularly due to the reduction of invalid applications. It delivers significant value for money, considerably improves the landlord experience and keeps licence fees as a low as possible.
By putting the local address dataset at the core of this project, the council is also able to easily map the data. This leads to the identification of hotspots of private rented accommodation and links to ASB and poor property management practices. They can also map the take up of licences and the location of landlords on a national scale, which is an important aspect in being able to analyse the success of the project, target enforcement resources in an intelligence-led way and continuously review areas for improvement through a live system.
James Dykes, Principal Environmental Health Officer at Newham Council said of the project, "Not only does it showcase a real world benefit of an accurate address dataset, it also shows how a streamlined process delivers real efficiency savings as well as joining up services across the council."
"This scheme aims to make a real difference to residents of the borough in terms of improved living standards for private tenants and also community based improvements to peoples' living environments and local area."
To find out more about local address datasets, visit www.geoplace.co.uk
GeoPlace is a public sector limited liability partnership between the Local Government Association and Ordnance Survey. GeoPlace's role is to create and maintain the National Address Gazetteer and the National Street Gazetteer for England and Wales, providing definitive sources of publicly-owned spatial address and street data for Great Britain.
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