In a report, the DCLG said that the use of a “waste data standard” could drive a total of £500m in savings for UK local authorities over a 14 year period.
This is lower than the £600m over seven years that was proposed in its first case. It says this is the result of a “more sophisticated Beta model”, which reflects varying degrees of digital maturity among councils, and allows for the differences in savings depending on whether councils in-source or outsource their waste services.
“In order to achieve this efficiency all parties need to be working to common agreed standards, including a data standard. If this exists all parties can refer to it in their initial negotiations, in the design and delivery of solutions, and in their management reporting”
The first Alpha report was published to make the case on why the DCLG believes data standards are important, saying they are essential for enabling better systems integration, which in turn leads to more successful and sustainable channel shift.
Standards can also enable new partnerships and business models as well as stimulating innovation.
“In order to achieve this efficiency all parties need to be working to common agreed standards, including a data standard,” DCLG states. “If this exists all parties can refer to it in their initial negotiations, in the design and delivery of solutions, and in their management reporting.
“Technical systems that are built with reference to the same standard can talk to each other more easily, without the need for intervention or manual work, unlocking further efficiencies. This kind of automated communication be- tween systems is enabled by “APIs” (application programming interfaces).
“Markets or sectors that adopt data standards therefore tend to be more efficient markets, as suppliers and clients know what to expect, removing the cost of be- spoke work, and making it easier for either party to move between suppliers/clients.”
The revised forecast predicts £126m of the above savings could be realised in the first seven years and that £357m of the 14 year savings are directly associated with waste data standards, with an additional £142m coming from associated “channel shift” savings.
DCLG estimates that individual councils could save between £115,000 and £215,000 annually by implementing data standards (including resulting channel shift savings).
The Beta model, however, does not yet capture additional savings that could be made by suppliers to local authorities, the DLCG says.
The DCLG admits, however, that while it makes the case that councils and suppliers should invest in adopting common standards, it acknowledge that the benefits of adoption are only guaranteed when a critical mass of councils and their suppliers have implemented the standard.