Local Governance

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Local governance

Getting citizen data under control is helping the London Borough of Brent provide more intelligent public services
Posted by Hal Hodson on 3 November 2011
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Local governance

Having inconsistent and duplicate customer data is damaging enough in business, but in local government it can have a serious impact on citizens’ lives.

Until five years ago, citizen records at the London Borough of Brent were siloed across 12 different databases, one for each of the council’s functional divisions. Every division had its own separate copy of resident data, and each one was incomplete or incorrect in some way. The council’s two separate customer relationship management systems also had different resident data sets, each with its own particular faults and omissions.

This situation meant that while one department might know that a resident was blind, and therefore required special services, the others might still treat them like any other. It also made the council’s clerical processes inefficient, as employees would spend much of their time calling other departments to find out supplementary information.

The council’s solution was to build the Brent Client Index, a system that aggregates the 1.5 million customer records held in the council’s 12 data silos to create a central, ‘virtual’ registry.

Deployed in 2008, the Index is based on master data management technology from Initiate, a US-based vendor that was acquired by IBM last year. It works by statistically analysing the contents of multiple databases, resolving conflicts by comparing data from the same field across…...

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