...for the public sector
Web mapping provides funding efficiency
The Government Office for the West Midlands' (GOWM) wanted to provide inward investors and their local authority facilitators with a transparent, accurate and easily accessible service to check their eligibility for assistance under the European Structural Funds programme.
Previously, staff manually checked property addresses on paper maps to advise customers whether a project was located in an area eligible for funding. This time-consuming process also proved inaccurate, with funding assessed at the ward level meaning properties within a single postcode could vary in eligibility. Staff also had to update records by hand when ward and postcode data changed.
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Beacon Dodsworth developed and maintained a web-based eligibility checker that eliminates the need for staff involvement at the initial enquiry stage, instantly answering questions such as ‘which ward is my postcode in?' and ‘which local areas are eligible for funding'. It also streamlines data updates, which is essential for customers using ward data pre-dating 1996 to judge their eligibility.
The online Postcode Checker appraises every property in the West Midlands for the four levels of available funding. Users access the information by entering a postcode or, where not all the properties in a postcode are eligible, a house number. They then see a 1:10,000 scale map of the area with each property in the postcode highlighted.
Alternatively, they can navigate down through a hierarchy of maps to identify which development sites and other un-postcoded features, such as canal bridges are eligible for funding. As the information is provided via a website, potential investors and their advisers assess funding eligibility, quickly, easily and wherever they have access to the web.
The Beacon Dodsworth online system benefited the GOWM in the following ways:
- Reduced administration costs in line with Gershon Report recommendations
- Extended the reach of eGovernment by enhancing public access to user-friendly online services
- Provided businesses with a one-click answer to an eligibility query around the clock
- Offered an affordable solution - the only costs are development and hosting
- Provided flexibility of eligibility assessment - enabling projects to be appraised at postcode or ward level
- Offered the potential to expand the system to consider the criteria of other Area Based Initiatives (ABIs)
- Enabled visual appraisal of a project's eligibility for topographic objects without postal addresses
- Enabled GOWM to use its PGA
portfolio of Ordnance Survey
mapping to its full potential
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