Select Committee on Transport, Local Government and the Regions Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum by Property Intelligence plc (OS 07 (a))


  The National Land & Property Gazetteer (NLPG) is a single, comprehensive, up-to-date list of addresses, each with its own grid co-ordinate, which enables them to be linked to Ordnance Survey maps.

  Designed as a tool to improve information management and serve as a bedrock for land and property address referencing. The NLPG currently exists for England and Wales and is being developed in Scotland.

  NLPG is a process subject to continuous improvement whilst being consistently built to an agreed British Standard. Inevitably both the standard and the NLPG have attracted criticism, some positive and some negative. Interestingly, no viable alternative to the NLPG has been suggested since its inception three years ago.


Local and National Gazetteers

  1.  The National Land and Property Gazetteer (NLPG) is a single, comprehensive, up-to-date list of addresses, each with its own grid co-ordinate linking to the national grid and therefore Ordnance Survey maps.

  The initiative is being developed by the local Authority community, led by the Local Government Information House Limited, part of the Improvement and Development Agency, following lengthy consultation on the required standard (BS7666) with Ordnance Survey, the Association for Geographic Information, Royal Mail, utilities and other public and private sector bodies.

  Local authorities are essential participants because they start the process by naming streets and numbering buildings. The NLPG requires local authorities to convert their existing lists of addresses into a fully consistent national information system, held electronically, constructed to common standards, and based on unique property reference numbers (UPRNs) for each property or piece of land. Once created the Gazetteer must be rigorously maintained, used and supported by the whole authority.

  2.  Even where authorities have moved beyond assimilated paper-based data, putting this information into a consistent and accurate form is a major and expensive enterprise. But progress so far has been impressive: at May 2001, all known addresses were compiled into a draft NLPG and currently over 40 per cent of all addresses in the country are being maintained locally by the respective local authorities in their local gazetteers.

The benefits

  3.  Local authorities, which have undertaken the work, have found some very real benefits. First, the NLPG makes sure the authority's information is held and maintained on an accurate and consistent basis. This provides a focus for efforts to improve local service delivery from improving bin collection rounds to reducing crime. The NLPG also provides efficiency gains. As previously mentioned, much staff time is unnecessarily being wasted on maintaining duplicate address lists—in some authorities there have been over 100 address lists in use, equivalent in some unitary local authorities to over 90 full time equivalent posts spent on maintaining addresses.

  4.  A number of authorities have also found that the local gazetteer has enabled them to identify previously unnoticed or forgotten properties on which council tax or business rates are not being paid. The Valuation Office Agency estimates that additional revenue of some £26 million nationally is to be gained by better gazetteer information.

  5.  The NLPG is also going to assist in providing the consistency required to enable national projects to be created from disparate locally-held datasets. The Local Authority Secure Electoral Roll (LASER), which will be accessed by the Electoral Commission and the political parties, is one such example. The NLPG will provide a means to display electoral information on a map and make alterations required by any future boundary changes both simpler and cheaper to undertake.

  6.  In addition, NLPG/LLPG's can be employed as a major tool supporting the progression of the modernisation agenda to bring benefits to local authorities, central government and the private sector. Combined land and property datasets, linked to Geographical Information Systems (GIS) often result in clearer management information being available about the delivery of council services. At-a-glance it can be seen whether areas of exclusion, in terms of service delivery, are occurring, a powerful tool for Officers, Members and decision-makers. Once information is held in linked databases, additional revenue streams can be created—these can often connect successfully to the local authority search process eg planning permissions within x metre radius could be supplied on payment of a supplemental fee, etc.

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Prepared 24 June 2002