In April 2011 the number of data returns which local government were required to submit to central government was reduced when the National Indicator Set was replaced by the Single Data List.

This change enabled the government to reduce the number of required datasets by 56 and significantly reduced the scale of a further 19.

A call for further reductions

Brandon Lewis MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State DCLG wrote to Council Leaders in November confirming his ambition to reduce the cost and burden of central data requirements. He has invited suggestions as to which current data collections could be slimmed down, collected less frequently or closed altogether.

Letter on reducing data burdens to LAs

The Single Data List contains the entirety of central government departments' data requirements from local government, which means that councils know exactly what information Government will ask for over the course of the year. Councils do not have to provide anything that is not on the list, unless extra funding is provided.

View the Single Data List pages – on gov.uk

The LGA welcomed the introduction of the Single Data List as it had carried out a study which found that previously the average single-tier authority was required to report 43,000 different pieces of information. Some of which required the entry of tens-of-thousands of individual facts covering every pupil, householder receiving benefits, or resident using a particular service in a local area, taking the total number of data entries to more than 12 million.

Read the LGA burden study

As part of its ongoing commitment to reducing the burden further, the Government established the Single Data List Gateway Group to govern the process of adopting changes to the list. The group, made up of representatives from central and local government including the LGA, aims to ensure that the requirements on the list place a minimum reporting burden on local authorities. The group carries out this work in conjunction with the Central Local Information Partnership (CLIP).

More information on CLIP

For further information or if you have concerns about a data request that is not on the Single Data List please contact us at research@local.gov.uk