• It’s always encouraging to see something come to fruition, the final piece of the puzzle settle in. As regular readers will no doubt be aware, we’ve been running the local government incentive scheme for some time now and data has been published steadily from across the country. The benefits of open data are numerous, but recently we were lucky enough to see an early re-use of data opened up by the incentive scheme, that final piece of the puzzle.

  • The numerous benefits of an improved open data infrastructure for councils are starting to emerge. Last week, data.gov.uk announced the launch of new ‘harvesters’ (no Wurzels jokes please) to help local authorities add their datasets to the national portal. Previously, this was a one-by-one process but these new harvesters help to ease the process and speed-up the re-use of open data publishing – and local government transparency.
  • Following an update to the Transparency Code earlier this month, local authorities will need to publish more details about their activities in a similar fashion under the revised code issued by DCLG. We thought we’d let you in on a few insider tips and lessons we’ve learned during the incentive scheme, key areas on which to pay attention when compiling and publishing your data.
  • The Government has published a revised local government transparency code. Under various new regulations the code mandates that local authorities must publish certain datasets, the first of which must be published by 31 December 2014.

  • The Local eGovernment Standards Body (LeGSB) and Local Government Association (LGA) are hosting a free one-day event for organsations interested in local government infromation management to consider the challenges to and opportunities presented by having better information standards in public services.  The event will take place at the Local Government Association, Smith Square, Westminster, London SW1P 3HZ on Thursday 25th September 2014.

  • With significant budget cuts looming, some authorities may be finding it hard to decide where to lower expenditure. It’s worth bearing in mind that some services are outlined as duties an authority must perform, which has caught councils out in the past.

  • The Information Standards Board within the Department for Education is developing information standards for children’s services.

    Representatives from organisations have contributed to workshops to progress the development of these standards and very considerable progress has been made in the area of Early Help.

  • With over 3,000 metric types available for LG Inform and LG Inform Plus, the prospect of gleaning one or two statistics may be disconcerting to some – but it needn’t be. Not only are there numerous ways of displaying one statistic – each split into separate metric types – but there are also several different sources of information. Here’s a few tips for report-writing and finding your way around the metric types list.
  • The Local Government Open Data Incentive Scheme is an initiative for English local authorities funded from the Release of Data Fund, to encourage and enable local authorities to publish datasets as open data, based on data requests received by the Open Data User Group (ODUG) from the open data community. It is hoped that the results will serve as an example of how the local government sector can work together to publish data from disparate sources into a consistent national data resource, for innovative uses within the wider data community.
  • Over the past few months, we’ve been working hard on a new feature for LG Inform Plus’s report writer: the text token editor. Now you’ll be able to create detailed, up-to-date reports on almost any subject you like more easily than ever.