Understanding the local area presents a challenge that local government routinely meets.
In an era of reduced resources and increasing expectations, local government needs a way to harness this knowledge further to help us; shape local decisions, support local partnerships, engage the public and reduce the data burden.
Commissioned by Ealing’s local strategic partnership, Ealing Insight, a data and mapping tool has recently been launched to help harness this knowledge. It won’t, of course, address the reduction to local government funding or the demographic pressures in social care. But it can help us allocate scarce resources where they are likely to make most impact.
It has the ability to display statistical information from information sources such as the census, indices of multiple deprivation and the NHS on a ward or area basis. Ealing Insight provides an evidence base for local decisions and can prompt new areas of further research. Over time it will contribute to evaluating the effectiveness of local interventions.
The development of Ealing Insight provided an opportunity for data from the police, fire brigade, Job Centre Plus, the voluntary sector and other local agencies to be held in one location. This not only removes many barriers to sharing data between organisations, it supports Ealing’s on-going partnerships and allows all agencies involved in the partnership to formulate plans and policies on common data sets and statistical information.
Furthermore, the key location and services section shows the location of places like police stations, fire stations, schools, with each location point acting as a signpost to the website and contact information about the service.
Engage the Public
The data on Ealing Insight is accessible to the public and we are actively encouraging local residents and the wider public to use the tool. Some of the data held on Ealing Insight is publicly available on sites such as the Office for National Statistics but Ealing insight acts as a one stop data hub for our residents and highlights data of relevance to the borough.
For our residents who take a particular interest in an area, they are sign posted to external websites for further information. As well as the publicly available data, Ealing Insight contains local data on a range of topics from social care to recycling rates that residents may find informative.
Reducing the data burden
The data held on Ealing Insight contributes to Ealing’s response to the open data agenda and could reduce the number of Freedom of Information requests to the council and partner organisations. It will also improve efficiency across the council, by reducing the number of statistical requests from colleagues, as staff ‘self-serve’ to gather data when they are preparing reports or funding bids.
The administration of Ealing Insight is shared across all partners to increase the sense of ownership and to tap in to the expertise and knowledge across all organisations. With this model, we expect an increasing variety of data and innovative analysis of the local area. The exporting data facility on Ealing Insight means data can be easily accessed by commercial organisations to develop useful digital solutions that can be used on tablets or smartphone.
Take a look at the website and let us know what you think.
Dami Awobajo is Ealing LBC’s improvement and efficiency manager