Newham rolls out statistics portal to improve decision-making process

The London Borough of Newham has implemented a statistics system to improve its knowledge of the area's demographic and enable it to make better policy decisions.

The London Borough of Newham has implemented a statistics system to improve its knowledge of the area's demographic and enable it to make better policy decisions.

The council launched the statistics portal, which runs on an InstantAtlas server provided by Geowise, this month. The system enables the council to collate information, put it in one place, and present it in an easily understood way.

Lavinia Irving, neighbourhood information management system manager, said, "We collect large volumes of data the challenge is to do more than simply publish it, but rather to make it accessible and understandable to policy makers so they can make solid decisions, which improve people's lives."

Borough performance information can be added, allowing measurement against national targets.

The online database includes information on the economy, education, crime, health, benefits and population, which officers have always collected. Information also comes from partners such as the London Fire Brigade, the Metropolitan Police and local health services.

The system allows the council to present data as area profiles and atlases that make patterns easy to see. There are also plans to allow the public to enter postcodes and find out about services in their area.

Irving said there would be no personal data held on the database, but that each piece of information would be used to build up a picture.

It means problems in a specific area can be identified quickly and work can be done to improve them.

"The drive from central government is for local authorities to build up a more detailed knowledge of their areas on the ground, and the system will help support performance management," Irving said.

"We are building towards having a system that is accessible to as many people as possible. We are doing ongoing work to make it even easier for people who are not used to the web to search for information."

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