Northumberland County Council wins first Local Digital Exemplar Award

16 Jun 2015, 12:23 pm

Northumberland County Council has won the first Local Digital category award at the tenth annual GeoPlace Exemplar Awards for a website allowing residents to report local issues directly to the Council.

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The Awards recognise local authority excellence in the use of street and property data to help join up information from different local authority departments.

This year the event saw a Local Digital campaign category for the first time, introduced because of a “natural fit between the aims of the Local Digital campaign and the work undertaken by GeoPlace and local address and street Custodians”, according to the organisation.

Northumberland’s Report It website saw 94% of streetlight faults and 95% of potholes reported by both customers and back-office staff in the first six months after launch.

It works by linking several Council data sources such as street lighting, recycling points and potholes via the Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) and the Local Street Gazetteer (LSG). The datasets each contain a unique identifier, the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) and Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) respectively, which act as a ‘golden thread’ to enable data sharing and joined-up working.

“This is a huge and well-deserved pat on the back for my team for the hard work they have done”, Andy Gilchrist, Northumberland’s Information Governance Manager told Local Digital. “The award is a massive vote of confidence in our Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) and will help publicise our work and be a catalyst in developing new solutions for our customers and services”.

“We wanted to develop an easy, user-friendly way for users to select a location on a digital map and for that click to retrieve data from the LLPG and Local Street Gazetteer (LSG) or a GIS data file and send it to a back office system automatically”.

Gilchrist said that the aim was to create an “uncluttered, easy-to-use, user-friendly interface for customers” and attributed the success of the service to “the support of everyone from our elected members, directors and managers down to the developers, web team, LLPG and LSG officers”. He said: “get people involved from all levels and their enthusiasm will ensure the project is a success”.

The council, which also won a ‘Best in region for street data’  Exemplar Award, continues to develop Report It in the areas of recycling sites; fly tipping; littering and lost or stray animals. And in future, the service will be extended to allow reporting on road flooding, broken road signs, broken or dangerous pavements and public toilets.

Report It was developed under Northumberland’s digital strategy, which aims for residents to interact with the council on a ‘digital by choice’ basis. “This means delivering digital services that are so straightforward and convenient that all those who can use them will choose to do so” Gilchrist said.

The overall winner of the Exemplar Award 2015 is the London Borough of Bromley for a visualisation and modelling tool that uses data from the National Street Gazetteer to manage street cleaning work schedules, creating annual savings of £800,000. It has also resulted in a 50% increase in on-site street inspections.

Other Exemplar Award winners include:

  • Peer Award: Glenn Dobson, Hull City Council Pauline Clifford, Reigate and Banstead City Council
  • Most Improved Address Data Award: South Lakeland District Council
  • Most Improved Street Data Award: Hampshire County Council

GeoPlace is a public sector limited liability partnership between the Local Government Association and Ordnance Survey. Its 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.

See the full list of Exemplar Award winners.