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Location intelligence collection | Article

Realising the benefits of location intelligence

Illustration showing woman standing holding a laptop. Behind her is a cityscape with location markers on various buildings.

The previous sections of this Location intelligence collection have introduced the topic, presented best practice case studies, and indicated how to make the business case for investment.

In this video, we provide a “how to” guide that walks you through a roadmap of steps to help you turn the transformative role of location intelligence into reality.

Video: Location Intelligence – “How to” Guide – Realising the Benefits

Five Step Guide

An increasing number of organisations are realising that data and ICT-driven transformation is the key to saving money and to achieving better outcomes. Location intelligence is literally adding an extra “dimension” to this digital transformation, often under the banner of digital, smart, or connected places. Consequently, you may well be “pushing at an open door”.

The video introduced a five-step plan:

  1. Understanding the Context and Raising Awareness
  2. Identifying suitable projects
  3. Establishing the Business Case
  4. Funding Sources
  5. Securing Corporate Support

Internally, your authority may have created an innovation fund to stimulate new ideas. Alternatively, you might be able to identify funds from showing savings within your own department’s budget, especially if a return can be achieved within a fiscal year.

There are also sources of external funding, such as the Cabinet Office, Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC), Nesta and the Local Government Association (LGA).

A further opportunity is for the development of shared services. Location intelligence applications that are crosscutting are particularly attractive in addressing better place-based outcomes. Sharing of scarce specialist resources and services has the potential to yield immediate cashable benefits.

Finally, in harnessing data and location intelligence, vendors are looking for reference sites and may be willing to work with your authority at preferential rates in the right circumstances.


Step 1: Understanding the Context and Raising Awareness

Often senior executives and Councillors, the key decision makers in local public services organisations, have little time to understand complex technical issues. So, the Introduction video in this series is designed to gain the interest by emphasising how location intelligence can help integrate ICT systems and provide actionable insights into many of the current challenges facing decision makers. 

Central government strategies, harnessing new technology and stimulating innovation are all, important “hooks” for explaining why location intelligence is increasingly seen to unlock economic value. 

Learn more

Harnessing geospatial information – the local dimension – is Socitm’s policy briefing on the use of spatially referenced data as a critical resource enabling digital transformation in local government and public services. This publication is a key reference for senior policy-makers, decision makers and managers involved in the creation, design, commissioning and delivery of a wide range of public services, including social care, inward investment and emergency services.

Unlocking Economic Value – the Geospatial Commission was established in the Cabinet Office in 2018. The Geospatial Commission’s aim is to promote the use of public and private sector geospatial data more productively and to help unlock its value, estimated to be up to £11bn per year.

The UK’s Geospatial Strategy, 2020 – 2025 – sets out a coordinated approach to unlock economic, social, and environmental value from geospatial data. It sets out nine opportunities and four missions supporting a strategic vision for the UK to have a coherent national location data framework by 2025. Future technologies will be underpinned by data about events occurring at a time and place. Location data will be the unifying connection between things, systems, people, and the environment. Valuable data that currently sits locked in silos will be easy to access and combine securely to create new insights, new services and new businesses that are almost unimaginable today. Innovation across the economy made possible by better location data, skills and tools will help drive economic stability and national productivity. Everyone will feel the benefits of being at the leading edge of the data revolution in our homes, towns, regions and globally. UK expertise will be sought after internationally, and our flourishing location-enabled digital economy will export its knowledge, products, and services worldwide.

Geovation – is an Ordnance Survey initiative in association with HM Land Registry which is dedicated to supporting open innovation and collaboration using location and property data. Geovation has an extensive network within the geospatial industry and become a leading proponent of the value of open innovation in the public sector. Since its inception in 2015, Geovation has supported 79 technology start-ups, created nearly 200 jobs and raised £19.5M in investment funding.


Step 2: Identifying Suitable Projects

This step begins with reading your organisation’s corporate plan or strategy. These documents will have been written by the senior management team and use the language they will expect to see in any proposal for funding.  Know what the key corporate challenges are and the strategy for responding to them. Think through how you can position location intelligence as a solution. 

Having ideas for improvement is not usually a problem, it is making sure they meet important criteria. Some of those you might consider are:

  • Does it address a “hot issue”?  – this will help to get attention for your idea.
  • Are the potential users receptive? – they must be able to see what is in it for them.
  • What are the quick wins? – early results from prototypes can illustrate the potential.
  • Is it achievable? – do you have the capabilities and time to make it happen.

Finally, remember to be objective in assessing the most suitable project, they will probably not be what you first thought.

Learn more


Step 3: Establish the Business Case

It is worth watching the Business Case video in this series that focuses on this topic first. 

Learning points for the “how to” guide are:

1. Identify who will benefit:

  • The Council
  • Wider public sector partners
  • Citizens
  • Local business
  • Visitors to the are

2. What type of benefits can be realised? There are five categories that often represent the most significant benefits:

  • Regulation
  • Customer
  • Process improvement
  • Production
  • Financial
Image: Types of benefits

Learn more:


Step 4: Funding Sources

There are many sources of both internal and external funding. Internally, many Councils have schemes that encourage innovation either with monetary input or making time available to work up ideas. Externally, there are both local public services schemes particularly focused on innovation and technology, and central government pilots linked to key government agendas with strong local public services links.

Current Government policies where location intelligence can play a significant role, include:

  • Fighting fuel poverty
  • Digital Transformation
  • Infrastructure Fund
  • Creating Smart Cities
  • Better Building safety
  • Improving Housing standards
  • Levelling up
  • Achieving Net Zero

Learn more

Innovate UK – is a government organisation that drives productivity and economic growth across the public and private sector and can provide useful contacts. Innovate UK has created a network of Catapult centres, those most applicable to location intelligence-based innovation are:​

Nesta  – is a global foundation that promotes innovation through practical programmes, investment, policy, and research across a broad range of sectors. Nesta supports and funds initiatives to help the public sector reform public services, address social needs and improve citizen engagement by smarter use of data and technology. Nesta helps governments adapt to the pressures of austerity and apply the best available tools for analysis and action.

DLUHC Local Digital – the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Local Digital team has provided funding to transform the way that English councils invest in technology, share expertise, and provide high quality digital services.

Local Government Association – has provided funding to help fund councils to develop digital solutions to support their wider work on national programmes of transformation including, the integration of health and social care, Troubled Families, Welfare Reform and Public Health.


Step 5: Securing Corporate Support

A set of further resources have been created to support readers to influence decision makers. These focus on the “soft skills” necessary to prepare for, present and refine the justification for investment projects.  Designed for local public services staff it covers:

  • Language – the senior management dictionary
  • Communications Planning – developing a successful plan for engaging with decision makers
  • Know your audience – Understand their frame of reference and what makes them tick.
  • Building support – who to speak to and what to say
  • Timing is everything – choosing the right moment and prepare your case in advance.
  • Successful presentation – making it short, simple and irrefutable
  • Assessment – review, then repeat messages often and to different groups

Learn more

GeoPlace Influencing Decision Makers Video

Acknowledgements

We are grateful for contributions to the video by:

  • Lawrence Hopper, Policy Advisor, Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, HM Government
  • Richard Duffield, Head of Customer Insight, GeoPlace

Additional acknowledgements for photography and video clips to: