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Council puts performance ‘widgets’ online

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In the recession-hit early 1980s ITN’s weekly lost-jobs counter became a regular indicator of economic woe – now one council is introducing its own version.

Harrow LBC has created a “dashboard” collection of easy read gauges for its website showing the number of borough residents on Jobseeker’s Allowance and Housing Benefit, as well as the number of empty commercial properties on its patch.

The indicator, which was due to go live this week and will be updated monthly, also shows the level of homelessness applications, enquiries about mortgage arrears, and planning application receipts.

Council leader David Ashton (Con) said the new feature was intended as an “easy-to-read and exciting” way to present information to residents who did not have the time or inclination to sift through council or government reports.

“People need to know what is going on in their area,” he said.

“Part of that means they should have an understanding of how the borough is performing in certain aspects.”

Employment minister and Harrow East MP Tony McNulty said the dashboard indicator was “a wonderful idea”.

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