March 11, 2009 -- The UK’s Staffordshire County Council has introduced a new web based public information and service delivery system which is the first of its kind for a County using the intelligence offered by the National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG). The new system supports internal processes and decision making across all tiers of the County.
The recently published UK Location Strategy lays out a clear vision for joining up and integrating information within a consistent reference framework such as this. For the citizen, effective geographic information, combined with other data, translates into knowing where local services are, avoiding traffic congestion and being able to manage one’s life better through access to more information. For local government, geographic information supports partnerships, helps it to deliver better and more effective public services, and creates cost cutting efficiencies.
Staffordshire County Council’s system relies on the best possible location and address intelligence provided by the NLPG to link multiple sources of information, previously trapped in departmental silos. Citizens benefit from better access to information and services, whilst the Council benefits from better decision making, opportunities to cut costs and more efficient ways of engaging with both its partners and its citizens.
“We went live with 39 individual layers of information including schools, libraries, rights of way and safety cameras plus partner services such as those provided by local Primary Care Trusts. This information is linked by a full set of searchable addresses courtesy of the NLPG,” said Roger Guest, Corporate GIS Manager for Staffordshire County Council.
“The ability to locate services centred around a selected address or location is key, enabling a member of the public to ‘find their nearest’ and view it on a map. It also includes a feed back mechanism, an easy route to feed us information on problems they have so we can deal with them more effectively. It saves the inconvenience of coming into the Council Offices and time spent with a Council Officer. None of this could be achieved without the NLPG,” continued Roger Guest. Internally there is a more sophisticated version of the system with selection and analytical reporting functionality which is being rolled out across departments to assist in the delivery of services such as Child Placement Teams, the Rights of Way Team, and Highways and Structures.
The NLPG is run on behalf of local government by the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA) with Intelligent Addressing (IA) as the national custodian.
“The NLPG is now firmly embedded in Local Government” said Michael Nicholson, Managing Director of Intelligent Addressing. “Staffordshire County Council is in line with Varney’s vision; its system makes the Web the primary access point for all simple information and advice, reduces ‘Avoidable Contact’ (NI 14) and encourages transactional services. It is also ticks the right boxes in terms of the UK’s Location Strategy where the merging of information from different sources within a single consistent reference framework helps to support the internal decision making process,” continued Nicholson.
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