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Tell Us Once aims to ease the burden of reporting a bereavement

  • Over the next 10 years, £260 million in savings should be made through the new service. By enabling access to Ordnance Survey’s accurate address data via the PSMA, Government agencies are now joined up and citizens can be put first.

    Andy Carroll, Head of Operations, Tell Us Once Delivery Partnerships, Department for Work and Pensions

Ordnance Survey data underpins a new joined-up service that enables people to notify a change in circumstance only once, improving efficiency and delivering cost savings.

The challenge

Losing a loved one is hard enough, without the additional stress of completing paperwork and making phone calls. Informing multiple government agencies about a recent bereavement is potentially an onerous task, as many actions need to be carried out; such as cancelling a passport or a driving licence and stopping benefits or pensions. Relatives of the deceased could spend a significant period of time and effort contacting different organisations, only to find they have to repeat information time and time again.

The solution

To address this issue, the Department for Work and Pensions (working in partnership with other government agencies such as the Cabinet Office, HM Treasury, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), Identity and Passport Service (IPS) and local government) introduced the Tell Us Once (TUO) service in England, Scotland and Wales.

Whether it is a birth or a death, TUO assists the public by providing a simple way to enter the information ‘once only’ and then pass it on to multiple government departments.

The TUO process begins with the registrar’s office, giving the person concerned the opportunity to use the TUO service. He/she is invited to provide all of the information in a face-to-face interview or, if reporting a death, there is also the option for the person to use a telephone service or to report it online.

Fundamental to the success of the service is a detailed and accurate address database, which is supplied by Ordnance Survey through the Public Service Mapping Agreement (PSMA).

The PSMA is a licensing arrangement between government and Ordnance Survey, which allows all public sector organisations across England and Wales to use geographic data provided by Britain’s national mapping agency. It replaces all collective mapping agreements and enables more accurate planning and a better use of resources.

Using the BS7666 address format, personal data is securely transmitted across government departments (such as local authorities, HMRC, IPS, DVLA and the Department for Work and Pensions). The Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN), which is established from the person’s address, is a key data item for many of the local authority services notified.

Once the address has been submitted, the information is cross-referenced against Ordnance Survey address data and the UPRN is added to each record. The person’s details are written into the TUO database and the data is then immediately available and automatically passed to the various relevant government departments.

The benefits

  • Over 10 years, £260 million in savings is predicted – based on evidence-based pathfinders and trials.
  • £68 million of savings for families over the next 10 years, resulting from the money saved on fuel or parking charges (avoided by not having to visit the different government departments).
  • Improved speed – departments can now access TUO documentation within hours, instead of days or weeks.
  • Ordnance Survey digital data assists in ensuring that personal information is kept secure, preventing potential errors and security breaches.

The products used

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