I am responding as a Croydon resident and an employee of GeoPlace in support of your plan to create a digital strategy and to highlight how your existing location data capability can become a transformative force for Croydon.
Success for your digital strategy is about more than delivering the same processes in a new way. Digital transformation means providing a seamless experience to citizens meeting all their needs, predicting and preventing problems and putting the analytics in the hands of decision-makers to drive policy. Data and location are at the heart of this.
Croydon has three assets ready to be brought to life by your digital transformation strategy: your Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG), Local Street Gazetteer (LSG) and the skilled professionals who maintain them – known as data custodians. The technical terms are really the simple principle that we need to know where our citizens, services, assets and risks are in order to be fit for purpose today and tomorrow – through data-driven services and evidence-based policy. You already have the building blocks for success but to deliver value they need to be used, shared, integrated, promoted and supported. A national study shows an existing return on investment of 4:1 – the potential is limited only by ambition, imagination and ability to deliver.
A digital strategy which points to master data management, data governance, which also utilises unique identifiers and highlights location as a core data element will provide the landscape for success.
Address and street data are the identifiers of places and where people are. They provide a common identifier to link data from a diverse range of systems and services to relate them to the same place, property, person, business or service. Bringing data together in this way saves money as it avoids duplication and provides linkages fast and efficiently, enabling ‘where’ to be utilised in a range of policy areas.
Croydon’s LLPG is a corporate resource holding land and property information about every property entity in the borough. As well as holding a postal and geographic address, it also holds a Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) for every address, classification information (what type of property), cross reference with third part datasets, lifecycle and historic information, as well as any alternative addresses.
Within Croydon, there already are several functions that utilise the UPRN:
• Building Control
• Customer Relationship Management
• Electoral Registration
• Environmental Health
• Estates Management
• Land Charges
• Refuse Collection
In addition, Land Charges has a live database link to the LLPG, including: Land Charges.
Croydon’s LSG is the definitive record of streets for the borough. As well as holding information about all streets, it also maintains additional data such as speed limits, special surfaces, height, weight and width restrictions, traffic sensitivity. Each record also holds a Unique Street Reference Number (USRN). By law organisations with a statutory right to dig up the road has to use the USRN for streetworks notifications.
Both the LLPG and the LSG are used in national compilations to create the National Address Database (AddressBase) and the National Street Gazetteer (NSG), both of which are managed by GeoPlace and widely used throughout the rest of the public sector.
UPRNs and USRNs support data sharing by exchanging information from different council departments together to give a property or street level view of service delivery. Using the UPRN and USRN improves accuracy; reduces costs; avoids duplication; and makes all kinds of collaboration easier.
Using the LLPG and LSG as a corporate resource right across the council will being efficiency savings and streamline service delivery. See this illustrative infographic https://www.geoplace.co.uk/addresses/uprn.
Over the past 16 years GeoPlace has collected hundreds of case studies from councils which demonstrate how the LLPG and LSG has been pivotal in achieving:
• Asset management
• Bins, waste and the environment
• Channel shift
• Collecting local taxation
• Community safety
• Data linking
• Development of Customer Residents index
• Digital transformation
• Electoral boundaries and polling districts
• Environmental protection
• Environmental protection
• Evidence to support funding from government
• Flood relief
• Health and social care
• Land charges
• Leisure and culture
• Partnership working
• Protecting traffic sensitive streets
• Public Rights of Way
• Road permits
• School admissions
• Smart energy
• Street lighting
• Street naming and numbering
• Streetworks coordination
• Support CRM
• Supporting families
Croydon wants to become a leader in digital technology, culture and operations, acting on these four points will help Croydon in its ambition:
1. Build a strong foundation – adopt the UPRN and USRN as Croydon’s definitive master location references
2. Maintain the data as a corporate asset for Croydon to avoid duplication and erroneous data
3. Create a culture of sharing – ensure that the UPRN and USRN are linked with council functions and services
4. Use the data to enable partnership working between organisations at a local level.
Following are some testimonials on the ability and the importance of the UPRN in helping to achieve this:
“The UPRN is the jewel at the heart of the addressing system. It links address data across a diverse range of systems and services. The UPRN facilitates greater accuracy and immediate data sharing and matching — delivering better services and better outcomes for citizens.” – Rt Hon Matthew Hancock MP
“I am now convinced that any public sector organisation that wants to use data for better outcomes needs to connect together its spatial data – using UPRNs is an easy way to match records. There are amazing things you can do by matching records. If you don’t have the UPRN you are making your life impossibly difficult to do it. The future of local government, the future of public services, the future of our communities depends on this – connecting data for better outcomes. For that you need UPRNs they are absolutely vital.” – Eddie Copeland, Director of Government Innovation, in the Innovation Lab at NESTA
“In terms of building a business case for an investment in the LLPG, it is my conclusion that you can’t build a successful transformation programme without building a strong foundation first and building a corporate approach to the LLPG is at the heart of that. Without creating a strong LLPG infrastructure and the resources to maintain it, every digital project that your council or your organisation works on so will be much harder to deliver.” – Ben Jones, Head of Digital Services at Harrow Council
“Using the UPRN means that we can match records with greater success. The aim of the golden record is to cherry pick the best data from different sources and assemble a record based on what we believe is the best data we hold, and the UPRN is one of the top ones. It is also an essential tool for cleansing and de-duplicating data held in source systems. We are putting a huge effort into improving the quality of data across the organisation as this will lead us to being able to provide better services to our residents.” – Sanja Milojevic, senior business analyst for Camden’s Shared Digital Service with Islington and Haringey.
“We have always maintained that Multi Agency Information Transfer (MAIT) in Wales utilises the UPRN as the key unique identifier. Information sharing using the UPRN is now in operation with the majority of Welsh Emergency Services and we are currently testing a similar approach in the exchange of data between Social Services and Emergency Services for example to undertake free Home Fire Safety Checks for vulnerable adults. My role has increasingly involved the Emergency Services in England and I am confident that within the near future, the use of the UPRN to underpin Emergency Service Command and Control Systems and as the unique identifier for wider public service information sharing, will be the norm not the exception” -Tony Bracey, MAIT Project Manager.