Dover District Council


3rd March 2020
Esri UK

Dover District Council

Collaborating efficiently with partners to plan local events

In and around the busy town of Dover in Kent, there is a full and varied programme of community events, providing highly valued amenities and activities for local residents and visitors alike. Dover District Council now uses Esri’s Event Coordination app to help it approve plans for all these events, which saves staff time, improves collaboration with partners and enables the council to deliver a high quality, cost-effective public service

Up to 400 hours of administration time removed annually for Dover District Council

£40,000 saved by using existing ArcGIS platform rather than standalone event planning software

Improved collaboration with partners including the police and ambulance service

The Challenge

Every year, over 200 community events take place in Dover, Deal, Sandwich and the surrounding areas, including carnivals, regattas and festivals. Whenever a member of the public or local organisation wants to put on a new event, Dover District Council has to liaise with partners to consider requirements for road closures, health & safety measures and licensing requirements, before permission can be granted for the event to go ahead.

This event approval process used to be extremely time-consuming, as it relied on paper-based forms and emails. Dover District Council wanted to streamline the entire process, to save time not only for staff in its internal events team, but also for its partners including the police and ambulance service. The council also wanted to make the event application process easier to use for members of the public, to help it support a thriving and varied programme of events in the Dover region.

“This project is a great example of how Dover District Council has maximised the return on investment from its existing ArcGIS platform and used GIS technology to deliver improved services for citizens in the Dover area.”
Abi Robinson, Digital Services Manager, Dover District Council

The Solution

Initially, Dover District Council evaluated a specialist event planning tool, used by a neighbouring local authority. However, it then realised that it could transform its event approval process using Esri’s Events Coordination app, a web-based geographic information system (GIS) solution available as part of the Esri ArcGIS platform. As Dover District Council already had an Enterprise License Agreement for ArcGIS, it could implement the Esri Events Coordination app for no additional cost.

Now, using the Esri Events Coordination app:

  • Applicants fill out an online form with details about their proposed event, which is automatically sent to the council’s events team
  • An administrator uses an ArcGIS web app to plot the event on an interactive map, including details such as road closures required or the locations of emergency services
  • An email notification is automatically sent to partners including the police with an authenticated link so they can view the proposed event in ArcGIS and make comments within map layers
  • Real-time email updates are created using a data integration platform (FME) which allows data to be read from one source, manipulated and written to another source
  • All stakeholders are automatically notified by email when new comments are made, enabling the partners to share concerns and easily collaborate on plans surrounding the event
  • The administrator can make further changes to the map and communicate any requirements to the applicant
  • When approved, the status of the event is changed to ‘approved’ and the applicant is notified
  • All information relating to the event is stored in ArcGIS Online and can be reused to provide information on public websites, such as maps of road closures
  • A full record of the event approval process is recorded in a single system, ArcGIS Online, providing a complete audit trail
  • The council can repurpose any of the data collected to create end of year summary reports or support GDPR compliance.

“The research we did into the full capabilities of the ArcGIS platform really paid off.”
Josh Cone, Web Developer and Analyst, Dover District Council

Benefits

Up to 400 hours of administration removed
The Esri Event Coordination app has completely transformed the council’s community event approval process, creating a fully integrated, automated workflow. Administrators no longer need to send information by email, chase up feedback from partners and collate responses, which has led to significant time savings. Indeed, the council estimates that it saves between half an hour and two hours per event, which equates to between 100 and 400 hours saved annually, based on 200 events per year.

More efficient collaboration with partners
Critically, the new process makes it far easier for the council and its partners to collaborate on plans for events. The use of the ArcGIS web app reduces the back-and-forth of emails, as everyone shares information in the same place. The ArcGIS app is also used at meetings relating to major events, during which the maps can be edited in real-time to depict decisions such as access routes and road closures. The heightened efficiency of the entire process, for all parties, is expected to lead to faster event approvals in the future.

Cost saving of £40,000 from avoided expenditure
Dover District Council was able to save around £40,000, as well as avoid a lengthy and costly tender process, by using the ArcGIS solution rather than buying a separate software package. “The research we did into the full capabilities of the ArcGIS platform really paid off,” says Josh Cone, Web Developer and Analyst at Dover District Council. “Other local authorities in the South East of England have invested a significant amount of money in software solutions specifically for event planning, but we have been able to modernise our event approval service using our existing Esri platform at very little cost.”

Improved experience for event organisers
The new event application process is much easier for members of the public to use and keeps them up-to-date on the status of their application. The Esri solution also generates high quality event maps, which can be made available on the council’s website and through other channels to help advertise events and provide improved public information about access and road closures. “This project is a great example of how Dover District Council has maximised the return on investment from its existing ArcGIS platform and used GIS technology to deliver improved services for citizens in the Dover area,” says Abi Robinson, Digital Services Manager at Dover District Council.

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