The LGMA has set up a project to investigate the establishment of a data unit that would gather, manage and analyse a range of data on the local authority sector.
Local authorities carry out up to 1,000 services for the public and hold huge amounts of valuable data that could help to improve services and inform policy across the sector.
The proposed data unit would seek to identify relevant data and to develop systems for the automated gathering of that data across the sector in order to create a centralised managed dataset for local government.
What are the project aims?
The project aims to identify the verifiable and strategically important information that exists, and to develop a means of gathering that data so that it can be managed and analysed to:
- Facilitate evidence-informed decision making and policy
- Ensure open data relating to key sectoral issues is verified, available, and correctly interpreted
- Increase the sector’s capacity to capture and communicate the work being delivered by local authorities
- Combine with external data to develop more comprehensive reporting and understanding of how local authority work contributes to wider policy goals
- Support local authorities to more effectively manage resources using evidence
The data gathered will help to inform decision-making across a wide range of policy and practice in the local government sector, including in relation to:
- Housing demand, stock inventory and management
- Future housing needs
- Homeless services
- Planning and land use trends
- Panning process efficiency and the impacts of planning decisions
- The impact of investment in economic activity on job creation and income generation
- Community interaction
- Local authority revenue and impact on services
- Procurement and value for money
- Waste and energy capacity planning
- Water quality
The project team have worked closely with the local authority sector to identify relevant data themes.
They have undertaken an audit to discover the systems that currently exist in the sector that gather data relevant to these themes. The team identified all available data within these systems and analysed what relevant data could be extracted to answer key questions under each theme.
The team has also considered what additional data is required that is not currently captured and the range of external datasets that can be accessed to assist in addressing the questions.
External consultants have been commissioned to identify how to effectively use ICT to automate collection, hosting, analysis and visualisation of the data.