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Helping local communities in Trafford represent themselves and highlight their needs using an online interactive data hub


Trafford Council has been an advocate of open data since May 2010 when the council took the decision to create an open data page on its website to allow access to numerous data it collects. This includes: council tax, business rates, location data, such as for schools and leisure centres and election results.

However, it wanted to use the data more effectively to create an intelligence resource. With NESTA funding and support from a steering group which included other Greater Manchester local authorities it embarked on an initiative called DataGM – a platform that would allow data sharing across Greater Manchester.

Alongside its work with DataGM, Trafford also wanted to develop its own data sharing initiative and went out to tender for a solution that would enable it to develop what it saw as a data observatory for Trafford.

Getting started

InstantAtlas was successful and started working with Trafford Council on developing InfoTrafford using IA Server. Executive Councillor for Transformation and Resources Alex Williams explains that at the core of the project was a desire to make non personal data and statistics based around the delivery of public services available to the public so they could engage with the outcomes of council decisions on services. That meant creating a user-friendly interface. Cllr Williams says: “We also wanted to make sure voluntary and community organisations could access rich data to support funding bids – by demonstrating need.”

As for the data, InfoTrafford is being seen as Trafford partnership initiative which means a number of organisations are involved in data sharing - from police and housing to health services. InfoTrafford also contracted to use OCSI data packs to ensure data is current and reliable. This has also prompted partners to think about the data they are sharing and how they can improve.

Meeting the need

Feedback from initial users has been very positive. “People love that it is accessible, user friendly and engaging,” adds Cllr Williams.

In addition the team have carried out some work looking at the efficiency savings that could be made by saving time and resources by having data in one place, an estimated potential £850,000 saving per authority across Greater Manchester.

local data intelligence hub for trafford  

Future developments

Cllr Williams says one of the future projects will be about increasing the presentation of time series analysis so managers at Trafford Council can see the impact of the services they oversee. The ultimate aim would be for different agencies to be able to see the impact of each of their interventions to encourage greater collaborative working between them. “Once you can see the impact of an intervention you can add in a cost analysis to match resource spending to outcomes which would be a powerful tool.”

Key benefits

  • InfoTrafford, as part of the Greater Manchester data sharing initiative, is contributing towards a significant cost saving in data management and analysis
  • Citizens in Trafford are better informed and represented – they can understand what it happening in their local areas.
  • InfoTrafford has created a data picture of Trafford which ensures councillors and managers can continuously improve outcomes in service provision

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

Brighton and Hove Local Information Service - Using a Local Information System to improve data sharing and needs assessment

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

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News and Articles


Arizona Department of Health Services | ‘Making data presentation meaningful when dealing with low rates of population density’


The Institute for Health Policy, School of Public Health, University of Texas | ‘Making data available to the community through easy-to-use data presentation tools’

Public Health Organization

Public Health Organization – ”Using data presentation to aid the policy-making process”