Headlines: October 11th, 2006

COUNCILS SLOW TO TAKE UP CENTRALIZED ADDRESS SYSTEM

 

The Centre for Economics and Business Research Ltd in a new report shows that local government could save more than 54 m pounds each year if councils adopted the National and Local Land and Property Gazetteer. This is a centralised system of addressing initiated by local government to join up address data across England and Wales.

Research revealed that local authority departments and other bodies often store disparate information about the same properties and areas. Many departments in the majority of authorities that have set up an LLPG are not making any use of it. Some others maintain their existing address databases and only use the LLPG on an ad hoc basis to cross~reference certain records. Consequently they are not exploiting the gazetteer to its full potential.

The weakness with different databases maintained by different departments in councils is that the information varies in terms of both the number and format of references. This makes it difficult and expensive to share information. It also brings into question the reliability of address data.

The cost of setting up an LLPG to a local authority is 34,000 pounds and the running costs are 40,000 pounds per annum. This includes staff costs and software licences. When a master list of addresses has been compiled, the marginal costs of rolling it out to other departments and services are low while the benefits are considerable and ongoing.

The project evaluation shows that over a ten year period, the benefit~cost ratio of the NLPG to local government alone could amount to 3.3: 1. More than 60% of the savings result from increases in efficiency as processes become faster and more accurate. Customer satisfaction improves with a reduction in complaints and mistakes.

The gazetteer is used for a range of activities including planning, building control, land charges, council tax and non domestic rates, environmental health, and customer services.