Text alert service prompts data integration

Norwich City Council says that data integration associated with a new text alert service has saved £50,000 on staff time to align data across departments.

The council has rolled out text alerts across a range of service areas, beginning with local election reminders, information about the council’s switch and save energy scheme and promotion of individual electoral registration.

At the same time, it has implemented an application integration toolkit which allows the automatic checking of information across different databases held by departments.

Dan Badham-Browne, contact development manager at Norwich City Council, said: “Because core customer data wasn’t verified across all systems, our aim of using text alerts was simply impossible.

“But the investment needed to connect individual systems to one another in a conventional way was not a justifiable expense.”

The council used an application integration toolkit produced by supplier NDL to simplify the process.

When data is entered or amended by users, the changes are registered across all other databases.

The council said it had also used the system to manually check a number of areas, including notification of deaths.

Previously, service areas would be sent names of the deceased and would manually check if these were on their systems.

The new system now checks 17 different databases for the names, and each service area only receives a notification if that name is present, reducing the need to check manually through hundreds of irrelevant names.

Other uses of the application include automatic updating of the government’s void property database as well as automatic job creation of fly-tipping service requests.

The latter allows a contractor to attend and deal with fly-tipping reports by customers. These are then recorded automatically in back-office systems.

NDL said it was working with more than 200 other UK public sector bodies to implement similar solutions.

The council said the system would be expanded to other service areas.

Colin Marrs

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