Supporting the localism agenda in the East Riding of Yorkshire through a data presentation initiative
The East Riding Observatory is an online resource that provides easy access to population, economic, community safety, health and education data for local authorities, partner agencies and communities across the East Riding of Yorkshire. The East Riding Data Observatory is a member of the Humber Data Observatory Group. Other Observatories in this group are: North Lincolnshire Council, North East Lincolnshire and Kingston upon Hull.
Gareth Hughes is senior research officer at the Observatory. He explains that Regional Improvement and Efficiencies Partnership (RIEP) funding was made available and Humber Data Observatory Group members were asked to highlight areas for investment.
Developing its website was a priority for the East Riding Observatory. It wanted to improve access to local information and this in turn would fit in with the regional plan which was to have websites for each member alongside a region-wide Humber Data Observatory (known as four plus one). “The sub regional level was seen as the best way forward,” says Gareth. “One of the main reasons was the issue of governance. Fire and Police services operate at the Humber level so the data they provide is better presented at the regional level. We also felt that we wanted to be in control of our own data – enabling us to upload new data as and when we wanted without having to seek permission from another body.”
The East Riding Observatory set about procurement process and InstantAtlas was awarded the contract.
With around 500,000 data files to upload, getting the website up and running was no mean feat. Data comes from many sources and includes: national statistics (ONS); local information statistics; fire & rescue data; police data; economic data; health data and environmental data.
Information is displayed by theme with pre-formatted profiles and reports. Data is presented through the use of interactive maps, dynamic charts and tables down to LSOA level. The system also stores useful documents and strategic assessments such as the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA) for the East Riding. In addition, the East Riding Data Observatory has now been updated with the latest OCSI datapacks for December 2011.
Presenting the data in such a way that anyone without any specialist knowledge can understand has also taken time – but Gareth believes the end result is worth it. “We are keen to support the localism agenda so we have included an InstantAtlas feature that allows users to input their postcode,” he says.
Meeting the need
“From a business point of view, the main users are internal and because it is possible to upload data and restrict access to a given group, it is being used by teams to display information.”
“The website hasn’t been live for long but feedback has been good and people who have seen it are very impressed. LSP partners have been amongst the first to see what the site website can do,” says Gareth. “Our local Clinical Commissioning Group was very interested because it might be used to help them commission healthcare services.”
Gareth says the Data Observatory is hoping to raise awareness levels further still and the website will be continue to be marketed. “We are also going to produce a road map for our website and the Humber Data Observatory that examines where we are heading and how we can make best use of what we have got,” says Gareth. In terms of data, the Observatory is looking into presenting performance indicators at a more granular level. “We would also like to include more health and police data and we are developing Humber-wide protocols to enable us to do this,” says Gareth.
Other InstantAtlas local authority stories and reports that will interest you
Suffolk Data Observatory - Bringing partner organisations closer together through a shared intelligence platform
Bristol City Council - Giving Bristol and its neighbourhoods access to local data in a visually compelling and easy-to-understand way
Staffordshire Data Observatory - Giving local strategic partners the data they need to make commissioning decisions in a customisable format
Devon County Council - Using a shared online resource to ensure Devon’s strategic partners make evidence-based decisions using the same data
Looking to develop a data observatory? - Find out more here