Overview

In 2011, Bath & North East Somerset Council took out a Parish Online Group Subscription to provide their 49 Parishes with the ability to access council data and create and manage their own maps to improve decision making and management processes.

After several successful years, and a very high level of engagement from the Parishes, Martin Laker the GIS Manager at Bath and North East Somerset Council shared with us the main benefits they've had from a Group Subscription to Parish Online and what he believes have been the key elements that have made this project successful.

The Group Licence for Parish Online has been an outstanding success - the parishes love it and they often say that it’s the best thing the council has ever done for them!

What have been the main benefits of your group subscription?

Cost Savings
The Group Subscription more than halves the cost of individual licences for Parishes. We've also estimated that we fully recover the entire cost of the Subscription through the savings we make in responding to requests for information. For example, we have recently conducted a consultation on our Local Plan which we published to all the parishes via Parish Online so that each parish had full access to all the Local Plan maps and supporting data. The last time we conducted such a consultation we had to provide paper plots of all the maps to each parish, and our office was inundated with queries and support calls.
Improved Decision Making
Working Together
Training & Support
Challenging the District Council & Helping to Resolve Issues

What have been the keys to the successful implementation of your Group Subscription and getting engagement from the Parishes?

Having a Launch Event
Our launch event was a great success. We held it at Bath Spa University and spent a lot of effort ensuring every parish was represented. With help from the team at GeoXphere we explained the benefits and uses of Parish Online took time to discuss and agree on a shared vision of how we could implement Parish Online to improve parish management.
Support from Bath Spa University
Continual Training
Holding an Annual Conference
Sharing District Council Data

The Group Licence for Parish Online has been an outstanding success - the parishes love it and they often say that it’s the best thing the council has ever done for them! The quality of parish management and the efficiency of parish/district communications has been transformed and I cannot imagine how we managed without it. I really believe that every District/Borough/County should seriously consider taking out a Group Subscription for their Parishes and that it's sucess depends on a clear vision of the benefits, a shared determination to make the system work and a clear training and implementation plan.

Martin Laker, Bath & North East Somerset Council
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