Newsletter, April 2016

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Hi there,

Plenty to be getting involved with this month, and opportunities to attend some interesting events. We'd love to hear from any authorities that have been doing more with open data, so please do get in touch. And don't forget, you can always find @LGInform and @LGInformPlus on Twitter.


STP footprints: taking a step towards greater sustainability

Many will be in a flurry of activity at the moment, trying to get the first phase of their Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) submissions approved. Though defining the exact footprint can be a lengthy process, with opposing answers coming from a variety of people, we've found that one authority has decided to take a data-led approach.

Last week, Bracknell Forest used Natural Neighbourhoods to map their STP footprints, allowing them to see a range of reports and demographic data for the people the footprint will serve. It's great to see authorities taking the initiative to add new types of area – especially when they're so topical – and we'd like to invite other authorities to add their STP footprints too.

Frimley Health STP broken down by CCG overlaid with NHS commissioning regions.

Anyone can add areas and area types using Natural Neighbourhoods. Give it a try.


Data publishing and standards learning modules

An easy way to learn about publishing data and using standards for local government has now been published. The Open Data Institute together with the LGA developed the learning modules for supporting local authorities to publish data, improve the quality of data, and use common standards to be able to more easily share, combine and compare data for further use and analysis across authorities. Case studies from councils demonstrate the benefits of data publishing and the use of standards.

Complete the modules by clicking the links below.

  • Module 1 – examining the benefits of publishing open data for local authorities, local people, businesses and communities.
  • Module 2 – a look at some of the ways you can publish better quality data, taking you through the 12 steps of publishing a complete, high-quality dataset.
  • Module 3 – examining where local authorities can find the right support to help them publish good quality, consistent open data. We will also look at how you can certify your data to help prove its quality.

In addition, we are offering six webinars as a learning aid to find out more about data publishing and standards. These webinars are provided by an experienced trainer of the Open Data Institute who will provide more detail and further explain the processes for publishing data and using standards in 2-hour online tutorials. Attendees will be able to ask questions and seek further detail and advice about the individual processing steps. The first four dates can be found below, and we'll announce the rest in the next newsletter.


New areas added!

We're always looking for ways in which we can improve the tools in LG Inform Plus, making them more relevant to your needs. We recently added a whole host of new area types to help you get the most out of demographic data in the reporting tool.


LGA partners with Nesta to help authorities use data better

The LGA has partnered with Nesta’s Local Datavores research programme which explores how local authorities can use data better to transform services and improve the lives of people and communities. The research will look at the ways in which data can help local authorities to solve the financial and demographic pressures they will face over the coming years. Read Nesta's blog to see more information.


LG Inform hotseat

We ran a really busy online meeting on the 21 April to discuss the Benchmarking Club in LG Inform, with people from 33 local authorities online. You can see all the questions, comments and interviews here. If you have any further questions please post them on that board, we'll be answering anything you're curious about.
The Q4 benchmarking period is now open, if you want to take part this time please let us know and we can send you all the details you need. Previous reports and information can be found on the LG Inform benchmarking site.


LGA Research: Unimplemented Planning Applications

This LG Inform report shows snapshot data on the number of unimplemented planning applications by local authority area since 2012. The data, provided by Glenigan, reveals the split between unimplemented planning permissions that are yet to start on site and those that have already started, but are unfinished. See how your area compares with a comparison group of your choice.



A free, half-day workshop for stakeholders to help shape our second ICT Category Strategy will be running soon. Previous ICT strategy can be found here on the LGA's Supporting Councils site. For details on the workshop and to book your place, visit the Events site.