Newsletter, February 2015 No Images?  Click here

Hello there,

As the nights stay lighter longer, it seems as though everyone is expecting spring to appear from around the corner. Change is in the air, and not least for local government which, as it moves towards a new financial year, will be thinking about sustainability and efficiency.

Grants for publishing local data

You may have already heard of the open data incentive scheme, a programme that aims to help councils publish local data and build a repository of useful data for developers. With grants of up to £7,000 available for each participating authority, we've seen an incredible response since the scheme started in July.

The scheme is now drawing to a close and all participating councils will need to ensure that their data is submitted and approved by 31 March 2015 in order to receive the funds. If you're struggling to get your data together, let us know and we can lend some advice.

Can you spare a minute?

How to make local open data work

OK, we know we chirp on about open data a lot, but there's good reason. For a sector that's looking towards itself for progressive solutions rather than outside, open data has lots of benefits for councils. Not only does it allow one to benchmark against other similar organisations, it also enables those on the outside – the public – to audit authorities and explore beneficial solutions. 

But once you've collected all the data, validated it, released it and made commitments to keep it up to date, how can you properly exploit it? Here's a plethora of ideas from across the country.

Parish plotting

Despite the title, this isn't news of our forthcoming detective TV series (more on that later...), but rather news of useful things people have been doing with the toolkit. Cheshire East Council decided to map their parishes to find out more about the demographics that made up their smaller settlements. The mapping of over 100 communities was made easy thanks to parish-to-OA datasets that are available for most authorities, and our own Natural Neighbourhoods tool. 

We'll be bringing you more on the work Cheshire East is doing soon, but if you'd like to your parishes too, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Free training event for LG Inform Plus

We regularly hold training sessions for anyone wishing to learn more about the toolkit and become familiar with the tools. Not only do we cover basic functionality but you can also find out how other councils use it to improve performance, support channel shift and more.

There's still a few places left on our 2 March event and you'll need to book early to avoid disappointment. Can't make it? Get in touch to arrange a learning day in your area.

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