Parish Online Stories

B&NES adopt Parish Online to promote self-service mapping

In 2010, Bath & North East Somerset subscribed to Parish Online for all 50 Parish Councils within their area.

It was at a time when Local Councils were having more tasks put upon them, such as assessing planning applications and organising grass cutting. The GIS Officer, Martin Laker saw the introduction of Parish Online as a no-brainer.


Key Reason for Signing Up

With the Parishes having to do more work, they were naturally requiring more mapping and this task was falling with the small GIS team at B&NES. Taking into account the printing costs, labour, postage and production of the maps, B&NES were spending way more in time and effort than if they gave Parish Online to all the parishes. So they did!

"I think it's a fantastic service," said Martin Laker (GIS Officer). "Before, if they (the Local Councils) wanted the simplest map, we had to create it for them. Now they can just create maps using their own information. They all think it's a big improvement."


Cost Savings

The cost savings were immediate, with B&NES staff being freed up to work on bigger GIS projects and spend the time with Parishes on more productive matters.


Data Sharing

As well as just allowing Parishes to produce their own maps, B&NES used the Parish Online data sharing system to share council-owned datasets straight into their Parish Online accounts. This meant that there were even less requests for bespoke maps, as the Clerks could produce them themselves.


Community Engagement

The use of a common platform has brought the Parish Clerks and District Council staff together for the better. They even put on a special mapping evening held at a local University where they discuss what's important to them and how they can get the most out of digital mapping. This is supported and attended by the Parish Online team.


Feedback from the Local Councils

The Clerks and Councillors love Parish Online because they can get on with the jobs they need to do quickly and efficiently, without being reliant on the District. With a proactive District GIS team, they have also gained access to many more datasets than would have been practical before.


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