Web service helps tenants move to more affordable homes
A web service to help tenants move to more affordable accommodation in the private rental sector has been developed by the council-owned company Looking Local with funding from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). The LetsHelpYou service, which focuses on affordable private rental properties, is part of the Looking Local product portfolio, owned and managed by Kirklees Council. It is a multi-channel solution, including access through Sky and Virgin Media. Through local authority subscription ,LetsHelpYou works as a free service for both the tenant and landlord. Tenants use the local housing allowance calculator to work out their allowance and then search for colour-coded properties within their allowance. The site was piloted across the five West Yorkshire local authorities in February 2012 and now has a network of over 20 local authorities, with more in the pipeline. More than 16,000 tenants have registered alongside more than 1,700 landlords and 4,000 properties. Independent research has found that 33% of respondents who found accommodation through LetsHelpYou said they would otherwise have been homeless. Meanwhile DWP, again in partnership with Looking Local, has also developed services to help people find information about Universal Credit, Universal Job Match and The Money Advice Service by digital TV. And those who use their smartphone to connect to the web, even though they might not have an internet connection in their home, can access the information via the new app, My Council.
Pictured: The My Council app from Looking Local
Looking Local: lookinglocal.gov.uk
MapMechanics unveils new digital datasets
MapMechanics, the leading supplier of digital map data and related geodemographic and business data, has released a new series of digital map data sets to its ForGIS postcode data files including height information, railway stations and ceremonial counties. The company has also added another map data set to its portfolio, CRESTA Zones, which delineates areas treated as single entities by the insurance business. They include both high-resolution and low-resolution versions, each offering users new ways of identifying data relating to areas with widely-recognised boundaries. MapMechanics' ForGIS is a long-established product range providing latitude and longitude for all UK unit postcodes, giving map coordinates to within 1 metre of the centre point of each postcode.
Yotta software joins up bin collections in Northumberland
Northumberland County Council has implemented a new waste management system, Mayrise Waste Management, from Yotta. As a result of local government reorganisation in 2009, six borough councils and one county council were combined into a single unitary Authority in Northumberland. For waste management and reporting this required the integration of seven individual management systems and seven sets of working practices. Following a review it was decided that a single system for waste management reporting and processing would benefit both the council and its residents. "Although it is still early days we are already seeing service enhancements" said Paul Jones, Head of Waste and Fleet Management at Northumberland. "The Mayrise Waste Management system is improving management of refuse collection rounds, allowing us to monitor our performance and record feedback from both crews and the members of the public. We have been able to automate many administrative and management tasks as well as requests from residents including missed bins and bulk collections." Mayrise Waste Management from Yotta is a solution for managing refuse collection and street cleansing operations. It enables the fast, efficient handling of enquiries, the monitoring of performance and the management of rounds and ad hoc requests. The software also integrates with mobile devices, third party software used by contractors and can be linked to customer contact centres, GIS and other back office systems using web technology.