National data service for local government

The Local Government Association (LGA) wished to establish what steps might be needed to ensure local government in England has access to good quality data and information to help improve services and outcomes for local people. This may support needs assessment, service planning, performance management, informing citizens, or more generally, decision-making with partners. With Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion (OCSI), we undertook soundings and background research. This explored:
  • needs for national action to improve access to, the sharing and use of data, including breaking down cultural barriers to better use of information
  • realistic options for a national service, owned by local government as a whole, that would collect, store and make accessible data and information.

Our report concluded that while there is a great deal of information available to councils, they do not always have the ability or capacity to use it. We also identified the costs of collating data spread across many different sources and highlighted gaps. There were thus substantial areas where councils could benefit from action by the LGA at national level. Those ranged from small, quick wins such as sharing knowledge on data and research services to larger initiatives, eg, on benchmarking.

LG Inform - national data service for local government

The report was used by a working group set up the LGA Improvement Board, subsequently leading to the creation of the online service, LG Inform. This allows councils to access and compare data and present findings. This is linked to the LGA’s Knowledge Hub, host to online communities to enable local government to “produce and capture its own knowledge”.




Evidence & performance


analytical, capacity building, data, R&I