Newsletter, January 2015 No Images?  Click here

Hello there,

From all of us in the LG Inform Plus team, we would like to wish you a Happy New Year and all best wishes for 2015. We know there's plenty to be getting on with here at HQ – is yours much the same?

Here's the first newsletter of the year, brimming with lots of open data news and tips to help you get the most out of LG Inform Plus.

On the pulse with open data

Would you know what to do in an emergency? Though you might be trained in first aid, you'd hope that all the equipment you needed would be available. Thanks to open data, there's a particularly good solution for that.

Having mapped their defibrillators a while ago, Trafford Council decided to go one step further and add their life-saving machines to OpenStreetMap, meaning that anyone can see where the nearest unit is available.

Subscribers to LG Inform Plus can also map their vital equipment using the toolkit's Uploader, a simple-to-use tool that places an authority's amenities and service incidents in a local context. Find out more...

From the blog

Need a helping hand?

If you're fresh to LG Inform and LG Inform Plus, you might have a few questions or need some tips on how to get the most out of the toolkit. Or you might be a seasoned user looking for a little advice on how to dig a little deeper. Whatever your level of experience, we're running two informal 'hot seat' sessions in January where you can place any burning questions to the people behind the programmes.

Join us on 19 & 26 January...

Don't forget, you can always get in touch with the support team from Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5.30 p.m.

Read the latest Research & Information bulletin

New web app ranks English constituencies by number of properties at risk

LG Inform benchmarking club

Many thanks to those of you that submitted data to Q2 of the LG Inform local benchmarking club. The Q2 collection was a great success, with 137 councils participating. The results are now live in LG Inform and available to view through a custom summary report.

The metrics currently being collected are a small selection which authorities felt were not being covered in a timely manner, or at all, by existing statistics. These cover waste collection, sickness absence and complaints. We have also had some interesting suggestions for new metrics recently including data on road conditions, freedom of information requests and levels of fees and charges, which we will include if there is enough interest. To see how to suggest new metrics, or vote on existing suggestions, please visit the dedicated LG Inform page.

The Q3 collection is now open and our key contacts should recently have received an email inviting them to submit data. If you would like to find out who the key contact for your authority is, you can do so here.

Moving towards better regional cooperation

It seems to be a hot topic in local government news of late, and to date there have been rumblings of a combined authority in the West Midlands. But how might those authorities be able to plan accurately and effectively? We have a solution...

We're looking for a few volunteers to help us develop a new tool that allows anyone to create combined authority geographies and view data for those areas, an update to the popular Natural Neighbourhoods tool.

If you're interesting in joining us from 1 p.m. on 28 January at the Local Government Association offices, please let us know.

Thanks for reading, friend!