Tools and services supporting the use of local data

Online support tools and services to encourage wider data publication and sharing.


The LGA is a key advocate of open data publishing and local government transparency. For over a decade, the LGA has coordinated the development of sector-wide tools and guidelines.

Data standards

Information standards in local government
A range of data publishing standards, schemas and practical search and publishing tools continue to be developed and maintained for free general use on the LGA open data pages.

Semantic standards to reference data in local government
Semantic standards are definitions of all aspects of local government business that can be referenced by all suppliers or local services as tags to their information records to give assurance that all suppliers are referring to the same subject.

Since 2002 the LGA has facilitated the development and upkeep of the Local Government Business Model (LGBM) which is recognised as the definitive model of local government semantics.  This comprises a series of open public interconnected lists of definitions for indexing everything we do in the public sector.  Each list is maintained to reflect changes in legislation and is version controlled.  Each item in each list is uniquely referenced with persistent identifiers in both human and machine readable form for use in local data standards.  These standards are used in national data publication specifications and drive initiatives such as transparency reporting, GOV.UK discovery tools and app developments.

You can find the Local Government Information Standards at LG Inform Plus .

National local data standards currently in development

Practical example of data standards in action

Local public services are designed to meet people’s needs. Resources are tight in the public sector and technology and data has the potential to provide a means to minimise the effort in raising awareness, signposting and processing access to services through self-service applications.

In partnership with other public and private organisations, local government is undertaking a pilot project to develop a data standard, publishing process and “needs matched to service” model to investigate if practical use of these standards through applications and wider extensions to multi-agency working is something that may now deliver tangible benefits.

Local data inventories, schemas and datasets to promote consistency of publication

In partnership with other expert groups, the LGA leads on the consultation and development of publication standards for local data. This work includes the creation of:

  • standard inventories for councils to publish their catalogues of locally published data,
  • standard schemas for core local data subject areas to set out a consistent format and content for each council to follow when publishing data,
  • and a knowledge of each individual dataset as published on local web sites that conform to the standards.

Tools, guidance materials, online technical support and search options are available on the LGA’s open data resources at LG Inform Plus.

Local data linking, validation and aggregation

A number of other online tools are provided in the LGA’s open data resources to support publishers and consumers to adopt a standard approach to data use, including:

  • A search tool for uniform resource identifiers (URIs) to facilitate linking of data sets together for wider re-use and innovation
  • A data validation tool for priority data sets to confirm that they conform to the appropriate national data standard and schema
  • An aggregation tool capable of collecting all known distributed data sets of a particular theme that conform to the appropriate national data standard and schema and collating them together into a single national file

Transparency code for local government

The Department for Communities and Local Government published a Transparency Code in 2014 (revised in 2015) that set out mandated data sets that local authorities are required to publish openly. The LGA offers guidance on meeting the requirements of the code.  

Find more about The Department for Communities and Local Government's revised Local Government Transparency Code

Data related KHub forums

  • LG Inform and LG Inform Plus – brings together users of the LGA’s performance and benchmarking tools to discuss contextual data, analysis techniques, benchmarking club, etc.
  • Local open data community – shares information on publishing and using open data within the public sector, especially local government.  This includes standards development and use.
  • Geographical and spatial information – shares discussions and information by local government organisations that have a working interest in the use of GI to support service delivery. This includes sections on data standards such as INSPIRE and freedom of information issues.
  • General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Local Government – A substantial new statutory regulation for the protection of personal data come into force with the GDPR on 25 May 2018. This group is for information managers in local government to share learning, opinion and preparations. It supports sector-led improvement so that organisations can upload, compare, share and download their preparatory materials.
  • Inspire Directive and UK Location Programme – INSPIRE is a European-wide technical standards framework to enable the access, publishing and sharing of location information. This group is for geographic information practitioners in local government to learn about INSPIRE and share knowledge and brainpower.