Newsletter, January 2015 No Images?  Click here

Hello there,

Can you believe it's almost February already? It seems like the past couple of weeks have gone by so fast, which means they must have been productive. What have you been working on recently?

This week's newsletter covers topics that local government will be focusing on in the coming year. Missed the last bulletin? Read it now.

Freedom to lead: sector-led improvement and your council

Like any other organisation, local authorities are always looking to improve, become more efficient and realise their ultimate goal: well-run services for the local community.

Over the past couple of years, momentum has been gaining behind sector-led improvement, a support network and treasure trove of new approaches to help council leaders, portfolio holders, chief executives and directors ensure their councils lead the way for local people.

One such council making use of these new approaches is Harlow Council. They're making use of LG Inform to benchmark themselves against other similar authorities and to collate and present information more efficiently. Historically, analysing data and creating reports have been very time-consuming but the data and tools that drive LG Inform (and LG Inform Plus) has helped expedite this process. 

Tackling the causes and effects of obesity

The transfer of public health responsibilities from the NHS to local government and Public Health England (PHE) represents a unique opportunity to set out a local approach to tackling obesity and change the focus from treatment to prevention.

The LGA is calling on government to help people live healthier lives and tackle the harm caused by obesity by reinvesting a fifth of existing VAT raised on sweets and sugary drinks and of the duty raised on alcohol in preventative measures to support an environment and a culture where a balanced and healthy diet is the norm and appropriate physical activity is available to everyone.


Looking for the old esd-toolkit?

As our community grows and develops, so too must the tools we use. It’s time to start waving goodbye to some of esd-toolkit’s original features as they’ve been replaced by newer, more powerful tools in LG Inform Plus, and you’ll find that the old website now redirects you to our new home.

But don’t fear, you can still access some of esd-toolkit’s most popular features. In fact, we’d love to hear from you if you think there’s something we missed. What tools did you find most useful that you can’t find in LG Inform Plus? Please let us know.

In the firing line

In the event of its kind for LG Inform last week, members of the development and support team sat in the hot seat to field questions from you, our wonderful community. You can read the responses on the Knowledge Hub but don't worry if you missed it, as we're running another session this coming Monday.

This time we'll be covering the report builder, LG Inform's powerful reporting tool which places thousands of local metric types at your disposal. Either join us on the day or post your questions beforehand.

We would also like to know how you feel about hot seat sessions: are they a good way for us to share information with you? Please email with any comments.

Can you help?

We're still looking for volunteers to help us develop a new tool. It will allow anyone to create combined authority geographies (think Crystal Palace, the Greater Manchester authority, and similar schemes in the West Midlands). If you're interesting in joining us from 1 p.m. on 28 January at the Local Government Association offices, please let us know as there are only a couple of places left!

Thanks for reading!