Headlines: May 27th, 2005

Plans have been unveiled for a new national spatial address infrastructure, which will build on work already carried out by Ordnance Survey, local councils and other organisations to provide a single national database that will be maintained through a framework of address and property identifiers. The plans have been announced by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, Ordnance Survey and the Improvement and Development Agency for local government.The system will take forward what has been achieved so far by Local Government, OS, the National Land and Property Gazetteer and Royal Mail. A joint prospectus is available on the ODPM website, setting out the details of the proposal and asking for comments from interested parties.

The database will be known, initially at least, as the National Spatial Address Infrastructure. It will support a wide range of services that are delivered by central and local government as well as by the private sector. It will, for example, improve the address base for the processing of benefit claims, the management and collection of local taxation and the next population census.

Phil Woolas, the Local Government Minister welcomed the development of the infrastructure and said it would support better exchange of information across national and local government, and between government and business. “This will help to drive the knowledge economy as well as improve the quality and efficiency of vital public services,” he added.

The scheme’s lead partners, Ordnance Survey and IDeA, have agreed broad terms for the development of the system. A first cut of the NSAI will become available eight months after the signing of a full agreement and that is expected to pave the way for a final structure after 18 months. The NSAI will initially relate to England and Wales only but in the longer term it will be extended to include information from Scotland and Northern Ireland. Comments on the proposals can be made until the end of June.