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The data

Where can I find out more information about a metric?

If you go to search in LG Inform and search for a metric and you click on the 'See more' details under its description you will find a link to esd-toolkit where you can find more details about the metrics.

I thought there were already repositories for data (for example, Data Interchange Hub, Oneplace and so on). Why add another one?

Many of the existing tools have been decommissioned or are unsupported, and therefore there will be fewer resources available to authorities. In addition, LG Inform will allow authorities to add their own local data, should they choose; a function not currently available on existing platforms. The LGA is keen to assist authorities with self-regulation by helping them understand their local performance better, and also providing channels and discussion forums (for example, through the Knowledge Hub) whereby councils can engage with each other to discuss and debate implementing improvements for local residents.

What data will be included on the system? Who decides? Will there be a fixed basket of indicators? How will it be different from ACPIs, BVPIs or the NIS?

The LGA does not require councils to report data through LG Inform. Currently the LGA has assembled more than 100 relevant, published performance data sets containing over 1,000 metrics. These include contextual data sets as well as service-based data sets, which are currently being reported by authorities nationally as returns on the ‘single data list'. The initial scope has been discussed and debated with the sector and the data included is seen as ‘core'. However, through further consultation it is envisaged this list of metrics will be developed, for example, the sector may wish to develop new metrics that better show local performance assist in improving services for residents, like new customer satisfaction and productivity measurements.

Can we put our local PIs on? Can we, should we or do we have to also include definitions for the indicators of any data we submit? When comparing PIs with other councils, how can I be sure they're using the same definitions?

The intention is that councils can develop new, more appropriate, local metrics to be saved within LG Inform. The LGA will promote this aspect and work with authorities to agree new data standards that will facilitate sharing, comparison or benchmarking.

Which metrics will have in-year reporting or will authorities be required to provide locally collected data?

The LG Inform team are working with an initial set of authorities to identify which metrics could usefully be collected in-year, providing a service similar to a ‘benchmarking club'. This work will be discussed with the wider local government sector to generate agreement on which metrics should be locally collected more often.

We will need other, contextual, data about our local area too.

In addition to hosting and collecting service-specific data LG Inform, also provides other contextual data sets that are essential when making comparisons also for example, population data, the Indices of Multiple Deprivation etc. Users will be able to re-present data in a number of ways for example, in geographical form.

Will it contain information that will help us meet the new equalities requirements?

LG Inform contains relevant data sets that include information at aggregate level that could help councils fulfil, in part, their equalities requirements for example, population and workforce data sets on age, gender and ethnicity.

Will it include all data in the National Indicator Set? (Pre-populated?)

The metrics held in LG Inform includes most of those that were previously part of the National Indicator Set.

Will it include data we're required to submit for individual services?

At last count, across all services local authorities report an estimated 43,000 different pieces of information to central government. LG Inform will not attempt to include all of these. Rather, in consultation with councils, the LGA has assembled around 1,000 of the most useful metrics. We anticipate this number will be modified over time, through engagement with the sector, to ensure only the most useful information is contained within LG Inform.

Is there any process of checking the data we input (including automatic querying of ‘extreme' and or out of range data, for instance)?

The responsibility for ensuring data is correct when presented to LG Inform will rest with the originator of the data. The LG Inform tool however, will facilitate the checking of this data and help identify any extraordinary results or issues and or inaccuracies it contains.

Will this only include final, validated data or also provisional? Will they be treated differently?

The LGA will be working with respected partners such as ONS and government departments to ensure that quality data is accessed through LG Inform. Locally collected data will be imported against agreed standards. Data will be treated as ‘provisional' data until either the data owner validates and publishes it or a national, final data set that replaces it is published. Data sets can be reviewed before that final release between nominated users.

Will the data we submit be ‘safe' – we won't have to end up submitting it all again in the future will we?

LG Inform has a secure environment to store data. Information will be backed up to prevent loss of information.

What should I do if I think the data is wrong?

Anyone can contact the LG Inform team by using the feedback form or by e-mailing

We are happy to review any questions you may have about the data. The database that serves LG Inform has grown to nearly a thousand data items from approximately a hundred different sources. Our aim always to use the most up-to-date data and we have processes in place so that the data is uploaded either automatically or manually within a few days of publication.

How does it relate to the esd-toolkit?

Local Government's esd-toolkit is the online data engine that powers LG Inform with data. It holds both the centrally, bulk-collected data and locally derived data and passes them in real time to LG Inform, to populate reports and make them available for external use as open linked data. The esd-toolkit also provides the means for councils to upload locally collected data for inclusion within LG Inform.

There is substantially more information held in esd-toolkit than that shown in LG Inform – particularly at “lower geographies” – data at ward level or even output area levels in some cases.

During the remainder of 2013 and thereafter, we restyling esd-toolkit as LG inform Plus and making it a premium service in addition to LG inform. Subscribing organisations are able to drill down from top level strategic metrics in LG Inform to small area reporting (as charts, maps, tables, narratives) information in LG Inform Plus.

Additionally, we are launching the LG inform API (application programmable interface) which is also included as a bundle in the LG Inform Plus subscription, allowing authorities to access the metrics library and top-level and lower geographies directly via published, secure web services. This enables authorities to populate their corporate or local information systems directly and drive new applications that they care to develop.

Does LG Inform have data for fire authorities?

Over the last year the LGA has been working with representatives from CFOA (Chief Fire Officers Association) and representatives from individual fire and rescue services to ensure that the new system is better suited to the needs of fire authorities as part of this on-going work we have added a number of datasets to LG Inform and in cases we have aggregated contextual data from lower levels of geography to fire and rescue service boundaries.

Are there any Fire and Rescue services specific metrics?

We have been working with CFOA to make sure LG Inform includes FRS metrics and contextual data aggregated to fire boundaries. As with local authorities this is a continuing piece of work and we welcome any feedback on the data we are holding and any other metrics that would be of use to FRS.

What is the protocol for someone becoming an administrator of the system?

We will be putting together guidance about the purpose of this role which we will share on the Knowledge hub, through meetings we attend, as well as sending directly to current users. We will then be inviting authorities to nominate at least one administrator, depending on the take up we might have to produce more targeted information so all users knows the importance of this role.

What additional permissions does this give over a regular user, other than access to the data upload section?

The administrator will be able to load local (provisional/in-year) data for their authority into LG Inform; they will also be able to assign other users to this role. They will not have any other specific permission, as all users can create their own user groups, comparison groups, upload logos, etc.

Is there a limit on the number of administrators an authority can have?

We have not set a limit on administrators as we know cover will be needed when the administrators are on leave and we expect that different administrators will have responsibility for different service areas. We believe it is advisable to have more than one administrator per authority so there is periodic cover avaiable. As people move roles if more than one person knows the system, it will save on time training up new staff. However, we do recognise the need to maintain data quality standards and therefore would advise that authorities choose the relevant staff.