Sadly, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) exploitation is one area in which Newham has generally lagged best practice.

Although we have done some innovative stuff in some areas – especially our Neighbourhood Information Management System (NIMS), GIS is not an embedded part of our Information Management strategy.

I've been trying to gain agreement to investment in a more strategic, corporate approach to GIS management for quite a while. This culminated in the commissioning of a review of the business case by the Council's Business Improvement Service, which has just sent me its final report.

I'm pleased to say that this has recommended that we "implement a managed approach to geographical data use, which centralises the handling of shared core data and standardises an approach to specific service data, such that a single comprehensive source of geographical data can be confidently made available to appropriate users" supported by a positive business case for investment.

RS forwarded some information about the MUSCO approach to the redevelopment of the Elephant & Castle by Southwark Council. A "MUSCO" is a Multi-Utility Service Company – i.e. one that provides integrated data services, as well as energy and water services. There is an excellent presentation here.

This seems to be a concept we should explore, with converged network and intelligent homes at the heart of proposals.