How a Single Citizen View can help local government deliver a better service

by Victoria Thomason

15 Sep 2015

Image of someone pinpointing a citizen from a screen of multiple citizens, to depict a single citizen view

In a climate of far-reaching budget cuts and an increasing burden on their services from a growing and transient population, local government today faces huge pressures both from central government and its own citizens to deliver better services, at lower costs. With the background of this challenging environment, more and more local councils are seeing their own citizen data as a valuable asset that, if effectively managed, can drive savings, increase efficiency and result in the delivery of a better service to their citizens.

Unifying citizen data

Key to harnessing citizen data effectively is the creation of a Single Citizen View. By matching and merging any electronic information held about a citizen across all departments or agencies, a single, unified view can be obtained. This unified view unlocks the power of the citizen data allowing it to be used in a range of efficiency- driving applications across local government.

Infoshare’s ClearCore software – used recently by a London Borough to underpin a Society of IT Mangement (SOCITM) award-winning transformative data project – uses evidence-based matching to link data from across disparate systems, creating accurate and trusted single views of citizens. Rather than relying on probability, Infoshare has created local government specific matching rules based on evidence to link data across different systems, resulting in the retrieval of ‘hidden’ matches that many other solutions won’t find.

Improving services and saving costs

The benefits to local authorities of implementing a single citizen view are numerous. From an operational perspective, automated data matching not only reduces staffing costs and resource burdens, but ensures higher levels of accuracy. ClearCore has been proven to drive up data accuracy from industry averages of 85% to 97%.

A single citizen view has the scope to underpin countless local government applications. Infoshare’s recent project with a large London Borough enabled data held across different council departments including Revenue and Benefits, CRM, Parking and Housing to be consolidated into a central, easily searchable repository containing a single record for each resident. Besides a 40% improvement in call- handling times thanks to accurate information being available in real time at point of contact, tangible cost savings were gained due to the digitisation of services such as verification of parking payments and payment of fines.

Implementation of a single citizen view is also a highly effective way for local government to identify cases of fraud e.g. fraudulent benefit claimants using multiple or misleading identities. The use of ClearCore technology by one local council resulted

in the identification and removal of 10,000 duplicate individuals, helping to reduce loss of revenue due to fraudulent activity.

From a social point of view, recent tragic, high-profile cases of at-risk children ‘slipping through the net’ due to non-existent or poor communication of information across different local agencies, have led to a strong drive to improve data-sharing across local government agencies. The Single Citizen View can help to identify troubled families and at-risk children and enable those local government agencies involved to work better together to protect vulnerable citizens. Infoshare has worked closely with several local councils to create an accurate single view of the most vulnerable in the community, in one case reducing the time taken to identify at-risk families from three months to just two hours. Infoshare’s solutions ensure that staff across all departments can access and share the accurate, up-to-date information needed to identify vulnerable citizens and take action.

With experience of providing intuitive data quality solutions for over 250 clients across the public sector, Infoshare understands the challenges facing local government and knows how citizen data can be effectively used to overcome them.