Parish Online Stories

West Sussex County Council use Parish Online for Neighbourhood Planning

West Sussex County Council purchased Parish Online for all of their 168 Town and Parish Councils at the beginning of 2014.

By paying for a 3 years subscription they were able to demonstrate that they took the new rights and powers afforded to Local Councils through the Localism Act seriously and enforced their support and commitment to the work of Local Councils.

 

Key Reasons for Signing Up

The tools available in Parish Online have given councils the ability to take up these new powers as well as develop Neighbourhood Plans and undertake the management of budgets and  services, such as grass cutting, themselves. To assist in these tasks West Sussex County Council made their Planning and Highways data layers available which included information on planning constraints and existing highways maintenance data. This reduced their reliance on the Local Authority when carrying out regular and essential tasks. It also created better collaboration between the Local Authority and the Parish to ensure assets and services were being maintained efficiently. For example, it visualised which street lights were maintained by which Council and highlighted error and omissions in the maintenance responsibilities.

 

Making the connections

To assist with the take-up of Parish Online, a network of Principal Community Officers (PCOs) have been helping promote its benefits, uses, and providing links to tutorial videos. Annual Parish Council conferences and meetings with District Councils have provided opportunity to engage in using mapping at the County, District, Town and Parish Council level, generating a coherent and unified information portal.

 

Feedback from WSCC

Duncan Barratt, Community and Economic Development Manager from West Sussex County Council explains the benefits of the new partnership, “As our Local Councils gain more responsibility it’s important to ensure they have the right tools for the job. Digital mapping is a powerful aid and can assist them by providing location intelligence and a unified view from the County Council across to the Town and Parish. By using Getmapping’s cloud-based technology, access to this information is easy, consistent and cost-effective. All this enables informed decision-making which is in line with our ultimate aim to make the towns and villages in West Sussex great places to live and work.”


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