Newsletter, July 2015 No Images?  Click here

Hi there,

We've had a great month, and we hope you have too. Not only have we had lots of people enquiring about our direct data feed, we've also had the opportunity to update several tools with the latest, most relevant data.

Opening up the work of local government

If you've been reading our newsletter for a while now, you'll have certainly already heard about our direct data feed (API) launch. The API allows anyone to access and download the data that powers our tools, the same data you use in LG Inform and LG Inform Plus.

Following the event, we pulled together presentations from a couple of organisations who have already made use of all the data in LG Inform and LG Inform Plus in a completely different way. That's the exciting bit, because not only does it mean other people might come up with something innovative, but you and your colleagues can start thinking about showing data in another light too.

See how the launch went, moment by moment.

Adding custom data to our reporting tools

Recently many of you have been asking about using local metrics – data collected by your organisation and held internally – with the tools, allowing you to combine the data we offer with that which you collect. While there's a lot of work involved in making this happen, we're really keen to shape the tools in the way you feel most beneficial. For that reason, we'd like to invite you to comment on the potential for including local metrics in LG Inform and LG Inform Plus.

Please join us on the Knowledge Hub and share your thoughts. 

New wards

As the electorate for an area changes, its divisions are adjusted too. Recently the Local Government Boundary Commission for England oversaw changes for 61 local authorities. Their electoral wards were updated meaning our data would need to change too.

City of York is one of the authorities with new wards.

Last week, we loaded these new wards into the system, which means that you'll now see the latest available data for the latest areas. We also made some changes to a few natural neighbourhoods (that were using earlier wards) so that those will show the latest data too. If you've built and distributed reports based on those wards or natural neighbourhoods, you may wish to check whether any statistics you may have mentioned have changed.

Let us care for your Care Act worries

The Care Act 2014 represented a complete overhaul in the way that social care in England is delivered. As of April 2015, when the Act came in to force, local authorities now have a responsibility to promote the well-being of people in their area, including the way in which they should carry out carers' assessments and needs assessments.

In order to help authorities meet some of the requirements imposed by the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014, we've updated the Records Retention and Powers & Duties guidance. This means that local authorities will have a view of what records they need to keep related to new services, and can see which services they're required to provide. For example, local authorities should now set up a Safeguarding Adults board and review this service where deemed necessary. 

The updates are available for all subscribers to reference and download now but don't hesitate to ask if you have any queries. You can also find more information on Records Retention from our flyers, and there's more information on Powers & Duties too.

LG Inform local benchmarking club

Last year, in response to demand from the sector, we began to collect a small basket of indicators which authorities felt were not being covered, either in a timely manner or at all, by existing statistics. These covered waste collection, sickness absence and complaints. The 2014/15 collection served as a pilot, and was a great success, with over 160 councils participating.

The data collection for 2015/16 quarter 1 data is now open. In addition to the existing metrics, we have added some extra metrics for this financial year in response to user demand. These cover fly tipping and website visitor statistics. To find out if your authority is already participating and, if not, how to get involved, please visit the dedicated LG Inform page. You can also view the 2014/15 summary reports at this link. For any questions about the benchmarking club, please contact