Camden Council creates database full of residents’ data

Authority works with IBM to use insights to improve debt collection and tackle fraud

Camden Council has built a database of people's details to tackle fraud and illegal activity in the borough.

The local authority's Residents Index is based on IBM's Big Data Analytics product, and draws on the personal data of people living in Camden to improve debt collection, clamp down on illegal subletting and reduce school admissions fraud.

Underpinning the database and the Big Data Analytics tool is IBM's InfoSphere platform, which enables data integration, data warehousing, master data management, Big Data and information governance.

Coupled with the database, IBM's tools give the council a full view of its most business critical data, including electoral information, housing data and council tax details.

Staff in each department can only see the data relevant to them thanks to a complex permissions system, while a data governance framework ensures the data is kept across 16 key systems around London.

But the database, built in three months with IBM Business Partners, can cross-reference the one million details stored inside it to gain insight into issues the council has previously found hard to decipher.

For instance, the local authority has withdrawn five school places from fraudulent applicants who pretended to live in the borough in order to get their children into Camden's schools.

"With the Residents Index in place, council staff can carry out detailed checks and identify previously hidden discrepancies in the information supplied to the council to prove residency," said councillor Theo Blackwell.

"This is just one example and we have other plans to use the benefits of data technology to improve public services and balance the books."

Camden Council also used the Index to fast track the electoral registration of more than 80 per cent of people living in the borough, and identified new residents who could vote.

Meanwhile, it believes holding records on its citizens is improving care, by equipping child protection agencies with the necessary data to paint a full picture of a child's situation.

The council said it is investing now in order to save in the future, as it can re-use each citizen's data multiple times in various ways.

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