Newsletter, August 2016

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Hi there,

August is generally a quiet month with many people taking leave during the summer, but we've been beavering away building a heap of new features. Some are ready to try out now, and more will follow next month, making your return to work more fruitful. And if there's something we've missed, don't hesitate to send us your ideas for future improvements.


NEW: Updates to LG Inform Plus reports

When you need to take a closer look at what influences an LA's performance, it's time to turn to LG Inform Plus. The report writer gives you an opportunity to drill down and view data for wards, MSOAs, LSOAs, and other areas, as well as aggregate data for other geographies: Neighbourhood Plan Areas, Clinical Commissioning Groups, and Combined Authorities to name a few.

Following your feedback and an internal review, we've released a few updates to the report writer and we're delighted to introduce these new features and a few improvements too. 

Need to show the service centres that relate to certain indicators? Use the Markers menu tab when building a map to display buildings and other assets on the map (and next month we'll be upgrading capabilities for showing amenities & service incidents).

Add reports, charts & maps to YOUR website
It can often be helpful to show maps, facts and figures on your authority's website, as Coventry City Council have done, and the Embed feature allows you to add these informative items quickly and easily. When the data for an area changes your map or component will be updated automatically. Click the 'Chain' button above components or alongside reports to access this feature.

More meaningful maps
If you need to show a chart alongside a map, you can now relate the data to places on the map using labels. And when areas of a certain type are dispersed unevenly throughout your local area, the new Overlay feature will help put them in context. Both features can be accessed via the Area menu tab when building maps.

Alongside these new features we've made plenty of improvements to the tool, and we encourage you to explore the possibilities by creating a report. We're always keen to hear your ideas for improvements and welcome you to get in touch with any feedback.


Initiative to consistently publish election results data

There has been much interest in publishing election results as open data recently, an excellent example of which is the LGiU Out for the Count project, supported by Democracy Club's technology. The LGA's Research & Information team is leading on a similar initiative which forms one of the core commitments in the National Action Plan for open government in 2016–18. The second round consultation has just opened and concludes on 14 October 2016.This builds upon a first round of consultation made earlier in the year with refinements and clarity provided by key stakeholders in recent months.

The consultation objectives have been set out in this document, and if you interested in getting involved, please read this blog for more information and contact details.


Matching citizen needs to local services

A new project has started to find a better way to identify and match local services to the needs of citizens and the places they serve. Including the help of data standards experts, open data enthusiasts and local public service providers (including local authorities and their partners), the project seeks to exploit the benefits of modern technology and trial a solution to better identify and serve the availability of local services, providing a means for citizens to find appropriate services from across organisations and local borders.

Work has only just begun and we'd like to invite anyone interested to find more information on this blog.


The make-up of Neighbourhood Plan Areas

Over the last few months we've been loading Neighbourhood Plan Areas into the tools, allowing you to see the make-up and breakdown of local forums (which aren't always wholly contained by a single authority, as explained here). As an example, this report shows the NPAs on London and demographic data for those communities.

We've also added lots of new area types to the tools, and you can explore the NPAs now.


New house price statistics in LG Inform Plus

Following requests from the community, we have added house price statistics to LG Inform Plus. These figures have been produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) using the Land Registry (LR) Price Paid data on residential dwelling transactions. These data are comprehensive in that they capture changes of ownership for individual residential properties which have sold for full market value, and covers both cash sales and those involving a mortgage. The data separately identify new build sales compared to sales of existing dwellings and are broken down by type of dwelling.

Data is available for a range of geographies and will be updated on a quarterly basis enabling you to answer questions such as: Which areas have the highest levels of new development? or What’s the gap between the lowest and highest house prices? Of course, you may already have your own questions about housing in the local area, so use our chart, table and mapping tools to explore the data and reach new conclusions.

Click the links below to view the reports, you need to sign in to view them


Training and events