Benchmarking data (LG Inform)

LG Inform brings together a range of key performance contextual and financial data for authorities, in an online tool.


About

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.

Local Government Inform (LG Inform) is a practical response to the local government sector’s call for greater freedom to take responsibility for its own improvement and increase transparency with the public. This online service allows registered users to access, compare and analyse data, and present their findings online or offline.

LG Inform brings together in one accessible place a range of key performance data for authorities, alongside contextual and financial information, in an online tool. Users can view data from over 4,000 individual items, make comparisons between their authority and other councils or groups of councils. Registered users can tailor LG Inform outputs to suit their own needs by constructing their own reports and by bringing several data items together. Importantly, the data is maintained by the LGA and updated quickly after being published at its source.

LG Inform is a flexible tool that can be personalised to each authority's needs. Users can tailor their own home page dashboard to monitor important indicators and link to their own reports.

With the focus on transparency and the desire to increase local accountability, local government has an obligation to be more open. LG Inform helps facilitate this by being viewable by the public. Authorities can also embed their own 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.

Case studies

  • Barnet – using LG Inform to support benchmarking, promote transparency and inform strategic decision making
  • Devon – using LG Inform to inform strategy and engage with members
  • Dorset – improving performance and managing risk using LG Inform
  • Harlow – using LG Inform to collate and present information more efficiently

More information

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.

Themed reports

The LGA regularly produces themed reports that are configurable for each authority. These reports are visible on the home page and include a variety of data from LG Inform such as finance, health, deprivation, housing, and education.

Published data

We publish all relevant publically available data to LG Inform within five 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.

Benchmarking club

Alongside work on the online tool, we manage a 'benchmarking club' which is free to LG Inform users. Local authorities have agreed 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 gives those local authorities the ability to submit their data and then compare it 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, LG Inform was opened up to the public. The public can view any of the 4,000 data items and see key information for their council. To support this, councils can publish reports from with LG Inform via their own websites that include the relevant context to help residents understand the information and the reasons for notable performance.

LG Inform Plus

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.