03 July 2020

Open access to UPRNs and USRNs set to unlock the power of place

The Government has announced that the Unique Property Reference Number (UPRN) and Unique Street Reference Number (USRN) will be released under an Open Government Licence. Additionally, the Government Digital Service has mandated that from 1st July, the UPRN and USRN are to be the public sector standard for referencing and sharing property and street information.

Open access to UPRNs and USRNs will enable transformation, collaboration and innovation among different agencies, break down barriers and lower risk and cost. Organisations accessing and using the data can unlock the power of place to plan the delivery of emergency services, councils' support services, as well as shape policy, support renewable energy, and enable wider data sharing.

As the originators of these unique identifiers, GeoPlace advises organisations on how to maximise the opportunity that open access presents. Working closely with local authorities, who have a statutory responsibility to create the data, GeoPlace manages the large data infrastructure that supports address and street information users across the public and private sectors. On behalf of local authorities, GeoPlace has also created FindMyAddress.co.uk and FindMyStreet.co.uk.

A cost benefit analysis for local authorities and street data for local authorities and emergency services in England and Wales commissioned by GeoPlace projected net benefits up to £200 million by 2020 from better use of the address and street data that councils create and maintain on a statutory basis. Based on the current rates of adoption, this represents a return on investment after discounting of 4:1. The research, demonstrated that the RoI could be significantly higher if barriers to adoption, particularly around access to funds, staff retention and improved national collaboration are addressed. The mandate goes a long way towards making this happen.

Most recently, GeoPlace has been working with central and devolved governments to include the UPRN in data sent to local authorities to support shielding measures for those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

The data is available from Ordnance Survey.

For more information visit https://www.geoplace.co.uk/power-of-place

Nick Chapallaz is Managing Director at GeoPlace

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