CEO Speaks – Peter Dewsbury

Author: Peter Dewsbury

Peter Dewsbury
March 24, 2022

The recent ending of Covid 19 restrictions has meant that we’ve been able to get out and about with a growing number of face-to-face meetings. There is certainly an enduring appeal to working from home – spending time with family and friends, and investing in personal well being – but it has been very rewarding to share physical space and energy with the passionate people that work in the public sector.

One of the things that is clear to me from speaking to customers and engaging with the rapid stream of content from Digital Leaders and Tech UK, is that the urgency and drive for digitally enabled Public Sector transformation has not subsided.

We always strive to be ‘Better than we were yesterday’, so we are responding to this challenge by pursuing three key tracks of product development…

  1. Maturing our existing line of business applications with a focus on improvements that will incrementally address the opportunities identified by our customers and staff
  2. Defining a model for organisation wide task management that will make it quicker and easier to use the Arcus Local Government Platform as a hub for managing customer relationships and getting jobs done
  3. Experimenting with customers on the application of Salesforce AI (Einstein) technologies to local government challenges

In recent months our efforts have delivered a number of important enhancements to our products:

Integration with Her Majesty’s Land Registry (HMLR) to support the centralisation of Local Land Charges registers.

Though the programme relieves local authorities of the burden of processing Local Land Charges Register searches (LLC1), it also brings a greater imperative to manage the quality of register data without the opportunity to cross-check other local records such as Planning Applications. Our team has thought not just about the integration to HMLR’s technology, but also about how new and remaining duties can be handled as efficiently and effectively as possible.

We have enhanced the automation that creates and updates Local Land Charges register entries from records held by other departments such as Planning Applications, Planning Appeals and Building Control Applications. This ensures that the data required by HMLR is pulled through from other records, ensuring little or no requirement for manual checking / updating by Land Charges officers.

Our HMLR integration can also be triggered by officers.  This allows real time validation (based on HMLR schema and validation criteria) to be carried out and corrections made there and then by the officer, maintaining data quality and resolving any issues at source.

Integration with the Ordnance Survey Places API to support “out of area” addressing. Arcus is focussed on the specific needs of the UK Public Sector. One of the areas we identified early on in our product development was the need for BS7666 compliant address management. Over time this has progressed from replica gazetteer management to a fully fledged Land and Property management solution. We’ve also started work on scoping the challenge of covering Street Gazetteer management. This approach has been effective at providing a standards based single view of a place, but posed challenges for shared services and services that deal significantly with out of area addresses.

We were therefore delighted by work by the Ordnance Survey on their Data Hub for APIs which has allowed us to add NLPG lookups to all our products, including bulk operations such as Competent Persons data loads.

Making use of the Ordnance Survey Places API is a great way for public sector bodies to take advantage of the Ordnance Survey data and services that they have access to under the Public Sector Geospatial Agreement (PSGA).

Formal Returns framework to simplify statutory returns.

We get consistently excellent feedback on the Reports and Dashboard framework that all of our products benefit from thanks to the features and innovation that our choice of the Salesforce platform provides. It is incredibly popular for teams looking to make data-led decisions, but we have had feedback that it can be awkward to maintain for statutory reports that often want complicated metrics drawing data from across the system.

Our team has developed a new statutory reporting framework to address this challenge – offering out of the box, upgradeable, metrics to cover all of the standard reporting for the services we cover including PS1/2 and Home Office reports. As you’d expect, each number offers “click through” so you can identify the records that are included and make data quality corrections as required.

We can now quickly and easily adjust formal returns as and when changes are made to expectations from central government agencies and departments, and deliver these updates as part of a product update without any customer effort beyond basic familiarisation checks.

I look forward to being able to share news of the impact of these and upcoming developments in the near future.