The potential for including local metrics in LG Inform - read more

The LGA-led online performance benchmarking and reporting tools, LG Inform and LG Inform Plus, have now reached an impressive level of maturity with user representatives in almost every local authority in England.  LG Inform holds large area metrics to permit council areas to be compared with one another.  LG Inform Plus holds small area metrics to permit comparison of wards and non-official user-defined areas created within its natural neighbourhood facility.  Collectively, both tools currently include over 3000 contextual and performance metrics describing local government.  All these metrics are already held in the public domain.

Recently, the core team has received an increasing number of requests to consider extending the tools to include locally derived and uploaded metrics for use in combination with the national metrics set already supported.  This extended capability is possible and within our capabilities, although it will increase the levels of complexity and data volumes handled by the systems.  Also, we need to ensure that the inclusion of local metrics, without any central co-ordination, does not compromise the current well-structured metrics definitions of national public metrics.

The team acknowledges the interest and potential for a local metrics capability and is beginning a short consultation to determine your views and level of support.  Additional developments will be required and we have to determine your needs in order to assess the costs of the solution and its level of likely take-up once released.

This consultation will begin with an open discussion and debate by interested users on the “LG Inform - Improving services through information” Knowledge Group in order to collect views and ideas.  We will then likely hold a half day workshop session in the early autumn to refine priorities and strategy.

Please will you begin to add your ideas and comments to the forum discussion which we will monitor and also contribute regularly here: https://goo.gl/DQgwDa ?

There are a number of current guidelines that we feel need to influence our initial approach, as follows:

  • We will provide a local metrics upload facility for users.  Here you will need to provide metadata such as a definition, units of measure, frequency, locality of cover and the source data or updates.  What form of data input best suits your needs?
  • Unlike national metrics already held in the system, any local metrics will only be visible to authors and to other users within their organisation.  Is this acceptable or can you see other strategies of sharing access that might be sensible?
  • Local metrics will not feature in the metrics-types list within local government’s information sharing standards pages, though we may consider a local metrics side-branch so anyone can see what is assembling at the local level.  Would this be helpful?
  • Local metrics upload will only be available to organisations that subscribe to the LG Inform Plus premium service as we have to generate funding for the initiative’s development and upkeep.  Would you be prepared to subscribe for this feature if you do not do so already?  Would you consider and support a modest increase in the LG Inform Plus subscription costs (rates of subscription have not increased since 2008)?

We look forward to your views and watch out for updates and a workshop to consolidate all views later in the year.

posted by LG Inform Team on 27th July 2015

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