Local Government Inform (LG Inform) is the LGA's benchmarking data service for councils and fire and rescue authorities. A new and improved version of LG Inform has been released, with improved performance and functionality.
Since the LGA's successful campaign to reduce the burden of central government inspection and assessment of authorities, we have been working with local government to develop an approach to improvement which is based on the sector's learning about what works best.
LG Inform brings together a range of key performance data for authorities, alongside contextual and financial information, in an online tool. Users can view data from over 1000 individual items, make comparisons between their authority and other councils or groups of councils, or construct their own reports bringing several data items together. Importantly, the data is updated quickly after being published at its source.
LG Inform is a flexible site that can be personalised to each authority's needs. The home page dashboard can be tailored to monitor important indicators and, in future, the ability to collect local data will be available.
With the focus on transparency and the desire to increase local accountability, local government has an obligation to be more open. LG Inform can help facilitate this. From the end of November LG Inform will be viewable by the public. Authorities will be able to embed reports, along with other supporting information, into their websites, sharing evidence of authority performance with residents in a meaningful, open and transparent way.
LG Inform is not an end in itself. It gives local government the ability to start thinking about its own data needs, rather than simply responding to requests for data from central government.
For the sector, by the sector
LG Inform was conceived through the sector's call for greater freedoms over its improvement and transparency. Since then the tool has been developed in close collaborate with local government champions to ensure that it is fully aligned with the needs of the sector.
We publish all relevant publically available data to LG Inform within three days of first publication. In some cases we are the first to publish this data. Users in the sector tell us what is relevant and therefore what we should collect.
Local and provisional data
Alongside work on the online tool, we are working with a number of regional groups to develop the 'benchmarking club' function of LG Inform. This will allow local authorities to agree a set of data items they all want to collect, either more frequently than collected by central government or because they are not currently collected centrally at all. LG Inform will give those local authorities the ability to submit the data and then compare with others who have also submitted data. For more information about local benchmarking data that is being collecting in LG Inform, please visit our web page on benchmarking local data.
Access to the public
To support councils with their commitments to transparency and increased local accountability, from November 2013 publically available data held within the new LG Inform will be open to the public. With this, councils can create reports from with LG Inform that include the relevant context to help residents understand the information and the reasons for notable performance.
LG Inform Plus is a subscription service that allows authorities to drill down from top level strategic metrics in LG Inform to small area reporting information. Authorities are able to view ward reports and create charts, maps and table using small area data. In addition, the LG Inform API data feed enables authorities to access the data library directly to populate corporate or local information systems and drive new applications.