On 29 March 2017 iNetwork hosted a UPRN in health steering group workshop in conjunction with Ordnance Survey (OS). The session was held in Manchester and attended by 40 colleagues from a broad range of local public service organisations.Delegates were welcomed by Enes Senussi, iNetwork’s lead for Innovative Access to Public Services and Ian Goodwin from Ordnance Survey, who introduced the concept behind the UPRN in health steering group to new members.
An introduction to UPRN
Ian began by explaining that UPRN is defined as a unique identifier for every spatial address in the UK. And that, through multi agency adoption of UPRN the steering group aims to facilitate a greater accuracy and quality of locational data in order to improve public service outcomes. At the time of the workshop, the group consisted of around 60 members, working primarily on ways in which UPRN can be better shared inside and between public service organisations on a royalty free basis.
The steering group identifies the following use case potential for UPRN:
- Emergency services data sharing
- Risk stratification
- HSC integration
- Public health intelligence
- Statistical reporting
- Fraud and error
After the introduction from Ordnance Survey, the group had the opportunity to hear in more detail about the need for, and potentials benefits of, greater UPRN adoption in Local Government. The engaging session that followed was delivered by Steve Brandwood from Geoplace, a limited liability partnership between OS and the Local Government Association (LGA).
Steve began by outlining the problems with addressing as it currently stands. One of the main issues is that Post code searches do not link to individual properties and flat numbers and building names are often called different things by different organisations.
Below is an example of how post codes and conventional housing numbers/names can often be completely inadequate for differentiating between unique properties in certain places.
The idea of UPRN is to give all properties unique numbers. This would help with all kinds of things, tax collection, post, law enforcement, public health intelligence and emergency service response times. In fact around 80% of local authority services need an address.
Local government already has a statutory responsibility to name and number streets, and will often share this information with central Government, housing health and other services. The sharing of this information is too often disjointed, chaotic and done to region or organisation specific standards. The question was asked, then – why not provide a unique reference number for all properties and share the data in a standardised way?
Geoplace’s vision is to do just that, by creating a massive shared service through a public sector mapping agreement. A successful shared service would mean:
- Data supplied to the whole of the public sector and commercially
- Drives efficiencies in the capture, maintenance and publishing of address and street information across the public sector
- Provides income stream back to public purse
- Stakeholders responsible for creating this data are also users of the data
And would deliver the following benefits:
- Harnessing standardised data
- Providing a platform for interoperability
- Reducing fragmentation
- Using data to make savings
- Service redesign
- Bringing public services together
Throughout the session delegates had the opportunity to learn about numerous case studies, highlighted by Geoplace, which showed measures of success on at least one of the benefits listed above. One such case study was the Wiltshire Council ‘Single View’ information sharing project.
UPRN in practice: the JIGSO project
The final plenary presentation of the day was delivered by Tony Bracey from the Welsh Government, in this session delegates heard the story of the incredibly successful JIGSO project for Enabling Multi Agency Information Sharing.
The JIGSO project uses Geoplace as the definitive source of address data. Local authorities in Wales were advised to stop collecting their own addressing data and used standardised UPRN address data from Geoplace instead. The unique geographical data is then used to underpin command and control systems for emergency services in Wales. Using this as groundwork enabled the development of a Multi-Agency Incident Transfer (MAIT) Hub. A vast improvement to the old method of different branches of the emergency services physically dialing 999 to share incident information.
During the course of the JIGSO session, a few delegates raised concerns about information governance. Specifically whether or not they would be likely to incur sanctions or fines from the ICO when attempting to increase data sharing between local services.In response, Tony challenged the entire room to quote a single example of the ICO handing out a fine to an organisation for attempting to responsibly increase data sharing between services to improve citizen outcomes. He explained that he had never seen or heard of an incidence of this happening throughout his career.
Tony went on to speak passionately about the need for the culture of fear to be broken down. Organisations and services will not provide effective, modern, innovative services if they are paralysed into inaction when it comes to sharing and linking data currently held in silos.
Delegates also heard about a number of great examples where simple geographic/property data sharing between organisations can greatly improve citizen outcomes at a very small cost. One example which really stuck was the sharing of property data between local authorities and health services in regards to dialysis patients. By using UPRN and data exchanges, local authorities can identify high priority residences and routes to hospital for their road gritting services during the winter months.
Map overlay of data sets in South West Wales.
The joint emergency services map showing “vulnerable properties”.
The key benefits of the JIGSO Multi Agency Information Sharing project were summarised as:
- Data immediately available and accessible – No Paper Required
- Accurate – Provided by Data Owners
- Can be interrogated in ‘Real Time’ – Scalable to fit scenario
- Shared to another user or device – Picture or list
- No charge – automating existing practice
- Blueprint for wider interoperability
- Information made available to BAU Operations
- Seamless switch between day-to-day and major incidents.
To end the day’s sessions, we held an open forum for delegates to discuss the potential benefits to their organisations from UPRN adoption. Colleagues were encouraged to consider benefits in three key themes:
|Theme 1 – Internal Business Benefit
• Data quality
• Data flows
• Process improvement
|Theme 2 – Clinical Benefit
• Community insight and targeting services
• Rick stratification
• Integrated care
|Theme 3 – Joined-up Government
• Data validation
• Insight from interoperability
• Supporting policy objectives
Enes Senussi noted the following discussion outcomes from one of the workshop tables:
“The implementation of UPRN is best achieved, when engaged at the outset of any major change impacting systems which hold and process personal data.
Transformation programmes undertaken by NHS Trusts across the UK could benefit from incorporating UPRN into EPR (Electronic Patient Record) system configurations. It is the only unique verifier that can link exact physical locations to individuals or households. Apart from mobilising more efficient emergency services, running queries on patient records based on this unique identifier offers considerable potential to reveal new patterns of data that could offer a fresh insight into patient interactions with health and social care providers. Especially since these multiple agencies already aim to collectively contribute to the overall wellbeing of citizens, whilst working with otherwise isolated systems and data sets. In Liverpool alone, three major NHS trusts* that together provide for over 86% of adult medical treatment in the City are currently embarking on the integration of their separate EPR systems. Considering the breadth of other public services accessed by this considerable segment of patients, providing a uniform identifier to help enable a holistic and better informed offer to members of the public, often in the most vulnerable states, is an advantage that UPRN can help achieve.
Housing providers are another key benefactor, many of which already play a crucial role in the facilitation of their tenants’ health and social care. This sector is also the subject of many mergers and incidental transformation programmes nationwide. Of course, abundant references to homes, houses and properties, and the significance of pinpointing each and every one of these to create an underlying canvass throughout which peoples’ data can be validated and services better tailored for our communities, did not come as a surprize at this event.”
*Aintree University Hospital, Liverpool Women’s Hospital and Royal Liverpool University Hospital.
For more information about this workshop, the steering group or UPRN adoption in local public services contact email@example.com