Newsletter, May 2015 No Images?  Click here

Hi there,

This month's newsletter brings you an idea for new councillors from one of our subscribing authorities, news of a recent addition to the tools and all the usual informative updates from the LGA. If you have a story you'd like to tell everyone, please don't hesitate to let us know.

Information packs for new councillors

Across England, residents took to the polling stations this month to cast their vote in not only the general election but in local elections, too, for 279 local authorities. To welcome their new members with open arms, Breckland and South Holland district councils produced information packs using LG Inform Plus, to help councillors old and new settle in to their wards.

Even with 86 individual councillors to address across two organisations, the improvement and performance team were able to generate documents for each member based on a handful of templates, using the LG Inform Plus report writer, saving lots of time and effort. 

Take a look at an example pack or learn how to create your own.

A dropbox for local government

If you've been a member of ours for a while, you may remember the old File Exchange, where anyone could upload and share files with colleagues. As we gradually migrated to our new home, we kept it alive but finally decided it needed a face lift – and the addition of some new features, including privacy.

The new File Exchange is ready to go, giving you a place to discover and share interesting documents with colleagues and other authorities, just in case your email isn't working as it should. You can also create your own shortlinks for Twitter, Facebook and printed documents, meaning no more clutter from lengthy web addresses.

Try it out!

A small spring clean

This is a quick note to let you know that we'll be performing a spring clean of Natural Neighbourhoods soon, to clear out any unwanted neighbourhoods. We contact you each month and ask whether you'd like to keep them, but if we've not heard back then we don't do anything. From now on, we'll be deleting any neighbourhoods that have not been published or finalised three months after their creation, keeping the system clutter free.

Other news

Demonstrations and training for LG Inform & LG Inform Plus

We're coming to the end of a really busy series of events demonstrating these two tools to authorities across the country. We're now looking for organisations that think they (and nearby authorities) could benefit from similar demonstrations and training, and would love to hear from anyone that's in need.

If you have a room that can hold up to 25 people with good Wi-Fi, please get in touch to arrange a visit.

Are you being served?

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. 

Whilst locally gathering information about resident satisfaction is a positive first step, it can be hard to interpret what these results mean without also having some context around how other councils are performing.

Simply comparing data to other councils that have used different methods to survey their residents can often be misleading. Variations in question ordering, wording and approach can have a significant impact on how residents answer perceptions surveys, causing benchmarking to be inaccurate. With this in mind, the LGA has produced a question set and guidance for councils who are carrying out resident satisfaction surveys and wish to accurately and effectively benchmark these results against other councils using LG Inform.

Using the guidelines in conjunction with LG Inform significantly maximises the benefits and insight that can be gained from local survey data by making it broadly comparable. In a time of greater transparency, benchmarking against other authorities can provide context, help raise lines of enquiry as to what could be driving differences in results and highlight areas where councils can learn from each other.

A number of forward thinking councils have already begun to participate in this benchmarking and upload their results to LG Inform, both to put their own results into context and provide a resource for the benefit of the whole sector. To view a summary report of results to date, please visit this LG Inform report. This report is updated with additional results quarterly.

If you would like to run a survey in line with the guidance, the question set and guidance document can be accessed here.