Newsletter, February 2016
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Hi there,

As the evenings are staying light for longer and the financial year comes to a close, it's the time of year when one starts looking ahead to the next 12 months. You'll find the usual tidbits in this month's newsletter, as well as the IMD by LSOA reports we promised last month, and don't hesitate to keep telling us about your stories and ways you've used the tools.

The council and its customers

Do you know what your residents think of your council? Are they happy with the way you run things, the value for money they receive, and do they think you keep them well informed? The answers to these questions are key for councils who wish to understand and improve their performance.

A number of forward-thinking councils upload their resident satisfaction results to LG Inform, both to put their own results into context and to provide a resource for the benefit of the whole sector. The results of these local and national surveys are available in a series of benchmarking reports that have recently been re-vamped. So all your data needs are in one, easy to use report.

Would you like to submit data? Click here for more information on providing resident satisfaction data to LG Inform, and contact Felicity Meerloo if you would like to find out more.

2015–16 subscriptions ending soon

This is just a small note to say that subscribing organisations' access to LG Inform Plus will be ending on 31 March 2016 unless you've already subscribed for the 2016–17 term, meaning you could lose access to custom reports and other tools that make up the subscription benefits.

Don't worry, though, we'll be getting in touch with main administrators soon to give your authority an opportunity to resubscribe. It's been great to see the numbers of subscribing councils increasing over recent years and look forward to welcoming more onto the programme.

Feedback requested on Local Government Business Model updates

Behind every local service delivered by the public sector sits an organisation, its scope, and the people and places served. When it’s broken down into its comprising elements, one can see the interconnected array of components: circumstances, processes, needs, and legislation are just 4 examples of the parts of the Local Government Business Model.

If you’ve ever taken a look at our Standards site, you’re probably already familiar with the parts of the model. Since the start of the year, we’ve been working to update the lists to make sure the model reflects the current thinking within local government, and to satisfy any recent legislative changes. This work includes:

  • ensuring the Functions, Services and Organisations Type lists include all responsibilities and operations of local authorities, the terminology is up-to-date, and all connected organisations are listed;
  • adding new legislation and extending the scope of Powers & Duties, to account for Statutory Instruments and any services they affect; and
  • reviewing the people-facing part of the LGBM, to consider whether they’re still relevant to a council and its customers, with emphasis on preventative services to save the public sector money through early intervention.

The new lists will be published in draft form soon, and we’d like to invite you to provide feedback via KHub to make sure that the lists are relevant. Please subscribe to the thread and keep an eye out for next month's newsletter for a reminder.

The communities that count

Last month we told you about an upgrade to Natural Neighbourhoods to help local authorities map their communities and then see the indicators that influence those demographies. Since we made the announcement, many of you have been adding the different types of area that exist nearby.

Predominantly, you've been mapping areas defined by neighbourhoods: action groups, community associations, and catchment areas. It's interesting to see this activity because it tells us what councils are focussing their efforts on, which helps us improve the tools for your benefit.

Need help adding your own areas? We've helped out a couple of councils so far, and whilst there's guidance on adding custom areas on our help site, we're always available to lend a helping hand. Get in touch with the support team if you need a little assistance.

Pre-operative ward boundaries loaded

Fifteen councils have ward boundary changes this year and we've been able to load these pre-operative wards into the system, meaning you can compare current wards with their new counterparts now. For more information and to see reports for the affected authorities, take a look at our 2016 wards article.

Opening up local government data to academics

LARIA is working with the ESRC’s Business and Local Government Data Research centres to find out more about existing links between local government and academia. In particular we are looking at how data, routinely collected by business and local government organisations, can be made accessible for academics in order to undertake research.

More details and a link to a survey can be found on the LARIA website.

Find out more about the benefits of subscribing to LG Inform Plus.