The LGMA has set up a project to establish a data unit that will 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 new data unit will 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
Formal approval for the project was received from the Public Sector Reform and Oversight Group in January 2021. Funding was approved in March and sanction for staff recruitment was secured in May 2021.
The LGMA is currently recruiting suitably skilled data professionals to lead and manage the delivery of the project. Up to eight staff, with specialist analytic and visualisation skills, will have been recruited by year end and work will have commenced on IT setup and data collection. Once staff are in place, it is anticipated that work on data relating to housing, homelessness, planning and waste will be the first areas of focus.
Consultants have been working on developing systems to ensure complete compliance with all data protection requirements.