Council’s award for online tool to report problems

Claire Holloway, head of corporate governance at the Local Government Association and chairman of the GeoPlace Board, with Ryan Gilchrist and David Basnett of Northumberland County Council.
Claire Holloway, head of corporate governance at the Local Government Association and chairman of the GeoPlace Board, with Ryan Gilchrist and David Basnett of Northumberland County Council.
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Excellence in the use of digital technology has seen Northumberland County Council scoop a national award.

The authority won the Local Digital Award at the GeoPlace Exemplar Awards for developing the Report It website, which joins unique data to a customer’s address, enabling people to find relevant information based on where they live and allowing them to report concerns directly to the council.

The tool works by linking several council data sources such as street lighting, recycling points and potholes via the Local Land and Property Gazeteer (LLPG) and the Local Street Gazeteer (LSG), to a self-service online portal, allowing customers to select an area of Northumberland and report problems specific to that area online.

Ryan Gilchrist, information governance manager for Northumberland County Council, who developed the tool, accepted the award. He said: “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 LSG.”

The website saw 94 per cent of streetlight faults and 95 per cent of potholes reported by both customers and back-office staff in the first six months after launch.

Ryan added: “The feedback has been fantastic and the award is a massive vote of confidence. This will complement our work going forward in developing new solutions for online services to customers.”

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. The service will be extended to allow reporting on road flooding, broken road signs, broken or dangerous pavements and public toilets.

Coun Dave Ledger, deputy leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “The council is committed to making the most of all digital opportunities in the way it designs and delivers its services, and this award is a shining example of how we are doing just that. I would like to congratulate Ryan and his team for the fantastic developments they have made in creating such innovative tools for the residents of Northumberland.”

The project was developed as part of the council’s Digital Northumberland Programme, which aims to make digital services straightforward and convenient to use, and thereby encourages residents to communicate through the council’s online channels.