Supporting the local government transparency and government open data agendas, Ordnance Survey, GeoPlace and the Improvement Service are enabling AddressBase internal business use customers to release Unique Property Reference Numbers (UPRNs) on a royalty free and open basis. The move will facilitate the release and sharing of public and private sector addressing databases.
The UPRN acts as a golden thread, linking multiple information sets about each spatial address in Great Britain. In the same way that each person has a National Insurance number or every book features an ISBN reference, a UPRN uniquely and definitively identifies every addressable location in the country.
The number remains consistent through a property's lifecycle, from planning permission to demolition, and is found within Ordnance Survey's AddressBase products. The UPRN is already used by organisations to link multiple datasets together and to reduce errors in data exchange between each other. For example, a local authority and utility company can continue to hold their own address information in existing formats, but by adding a single field for the UPRN, then can easily link matching records in their disparate databases together.
John Carpenter, Director of Strategy at Ordnance Survey, said: "The release by AddressBase customers of these unique address identifiers, will allow for greater cross-organisation discussion and data sharing. We're looking forward to seeing the potential for UPRN applications being realised through this open release."
The Joint Emergency Services Group in Wales, supported by Welsh Government, Cabinet Office and Welsh Unitary Authorities have already developed a mechanism to electronically transfer information between public service organisations using the UPRN as the common identifier.
This collaborative approach has underpinned core operational systems with the UPRN and developed a proven, long-term and scalable solution to secure multi-agency electronic information exchange, setting the connectivity and data standards for wider integration and becoming the vanguard for public service improvement.
The same project has enabled sharing of information between partners and has reduced the phone transfer time on emergencies by 94%, from over 4 minutes to 16 seconds, and is projected to save over 18,000 hours across the emergency services in Wales per annum. It has provided increased confidence in incident location and improved resilience, efficiency and safety.
Iain McKay Spatial Information Programme Manager, Improvement Service said: "The Improvement Service views the wider use of the UPRN as providing a linkage to join up disparate datasets. This will play a key role in developing a one-stop shop for land and property information in Scotland and will greatly assist towards building modern effective public services."
Richard Mason, Managing Director at GeoPlace, added: "Most transactions, provided by thousands of different organisations, include an address or street reference - from registering to vote, collection of waste, delivery of social care, payment of taxes, connection of utility services, quotation for insurance, delivery of packages, streetworks, allocation of school places and most crucially, responding to emergency situations, where time really can be life or death. GeoPlace is pleased to support the opening up of UPRNs so that AddressBase customers across all sectors can share data more effectively."
Cllr Peter Fleming, Chairman of the Local Government Association's Improvement and Innovation Board, said:
"Local authorities first identified the value of using UPRNs to link information from various services such as social care needs, schools admissions, council tax, benefits, planning and waste collection and have saved the sector over £75 million over the last 10 years. Opening up UPRNs will extend those benefits of linking data between services and will lead to further innovation and reduced costs in commissioning and delivering services and empowering local communities and business."
This policy will bring the use of the UPRN into line with the terms that apply to Ordnance Survey's TOID (contained within OS MasterMap products).