Local authorities in a number of British counties and cities, to the use of spatial addressing through what is known as "real estate reference numbers" (UPRN), They are unique national numbers given to each property, linking them to national data, In an innovative effort that makes it easier for stakeholders to reach the populations most vulnerable to severe and dangerous symptoms resulting from COVID-19, Thus provide them with timely assistance.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, The United Kingdom has been exposed to several challenges affecting its health sector, Where the pressure on health services and facilities has increased in an unprecedented way, Especially with the arrival of many cases that require intensive care and prolonged monitoring inside hospitals. It has become clear to the competent authorities that there are a number of factors that contribute to the aggravation of the symptoms of people infected with Covid-19 and increase their seriousness. The most important of which are old age or the presence of chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease. If data is available to help identify the population most affected by COVID-19 infection, The concerned authorities can provide the necessary assistance to them or even work to reduce their injury. In this context, "Property Reference Numbers" are presented as unique numbers used to distinguish real estate and identify all physical objects in the country, From bus stations to businesses, An opportunity to link individuals' data to their place of residence and thus facilitate access and assistance. In this sense, Three local councils in the UK have decided to add property reference numbers to their databases to make it easier to identify individuals who need special attention or services to cope with COVID-19 infection.
By virtue of the UK's health regulations, Hospitals collect various data to help them identify groups that may experience serious symptoms when infected with COVID-19. However, many local councils have noted that the data they obtain from the central government on the groups most affected by the pandemic, Does not include any spatial addressing such as real estate reference numbers, This is because the NHS does not base these figures as reference data in its systems. That's why Durham County Council, for example, added property reference numbers to lists it received from the central government that include individuals at risk of developing high-risk symptoms of COVID-19 infection.
The Board noted that those lists did not include all the inhabitants of the province belonging to those groups. Accordingly, The concerned authorities decided to use the internal databases of the Council and link the real estate reference numbers with the central government listings, thus contributing to the preparation of more accurate internal reports on the population and their needs. These updated lists have also been used to communicate with individuals and educate them about the support services available to them. As part of the Council's efforts to support the population, the review of internal datasets such as social care services for children and adults to identify those most vulnerable to COVID-19 infection has included. Reference numbers are also added to them to make them easier to reach.
In another initiative, Sheffield City Council sought to provide assistance to the elderly population living alone. But the Council faced a fundamental challenge in determining the best way to reach that category. Although it has tax data, However, they do not include spatial data such as that represented by property reference numbers. The solution was to compare tax data with the local property and land database. As a result, Some discrepancies were detected that were dealt with individually, Property reference figures have been added to the databases as a whole. And then The City Council has considered ways in which it can keep a record of the assistance received by those most affected by COVID-19 infection; This information was thus added to the database of local properties and lands. While enhancing employees' awareness of spatial data and real estate reference numbers and the importance of exchanging data between government agencies, The Council has made remarkable progress in a short period of time.
In a similar experiment, Mall Valley has added property reference numbers to the lists of people most at risk of severe COVID-19 from the NHS. With the start of lockdown measures to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, These reference figures were not part of the NHS database, The Mall Valley District Council and other local authorities have lobbied the central government for its inclusion. Indeed, The efforts of these local authorities were successful and an automation system was used to complete the process of consolidating reference numbers, Ensure easy data collection. In this way, The Mall Valley Council was able to provide assistance to those in need, He also determined the proximity of the homes of those most affected by COVID-19 infection to health and community services. Work to improve the assistance received by these groups.
The three former local councils faced several challenges as they linked property reference numbers to government databases. The most notable was the hard manual work in some cases to link the spatial data represented by real estate reference numbers with other datasets to pave the way for use to ensure maximum benefit. In addition to the need to educate employees about the role that real estate reference numbers can play in improving government services, And train them to add them and link them to various databases. One of the challenges that has arisen in linking lists of people most affected by COVID-19 infection is the need to check these lists continuously as the NHS updates them periodically.
The three local councils concluded that adding spatial data represented by real estate reference numbers to their databases, Contribute to improving the effectiveness of its performance and the efficiency of its services, And enable them to respond quickly to the needs of citizens. While the operation was a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic, However, many stakeholders saw it as an innovative solution that could be adopted in the future in various other fields.