Make A Difference With Data Unworkshop 24/02/2011

Have we, as local citizens of Hodge Hill, thought enough about what information is available to us online?

Frequently accessed data includes land registry information, crime statistics, planning applications and neighbourhood tasking meeting minutes, but what information would you like to access online?

Last night, B36Blogger attended the Make A Difference With Data unworkshop at Fazeley Studios in Digbeth, which is part of the Making a Difference With Data project.

We discussed what information is already available to local citizens, what barriers there are in accessing information, what information we would like to be able to access and how it would change things.

One interesting topic was the usefulness of Twitter, although we can complain to our local council via telephone or written letter, how many people complain via Twitter? It takes up far less time, common complaints can be easily logged and  categorised  and statistics can be compiled on a much easier and accessible basis.

Blogs, such as B36Blogger should also act as a complaints platform, local residents should make use of their local blog to make their opinions known and also create discussion around common complaints. Not only is this a great place to voice opinion, but through your local blog you can meet your neighbours and work together to get things done.

We want to be able to access statistics when it comes to complaints. We want our local council to record calls, put them under catagories and be able to access information on common complaints, and also find out how many are followed up, investigated or resolved.

As B36Blogger has already covered, Police UK have released a crime map web site for you to find out how many crimes are recorded in your area, but what we can’t access is the information regarding how often the information is updated, what was done in the area about the crimes and even when they took place.

It seemed to be a common problem that data can be confusing, data should be easy to read and easy to locate the most important information and highest and lowest statistics.

We want local authorities to make locating data easier, for example, Birmingham Ciy Council are often guilty for  making information hard to find and ‘burying’ it within their site. For exmaple, accessing minutes from the last neighbourhood tasking meeeting can be particularly tricky. This could be  because they have hundreds of pages and headings or perhpas that their search box isn’t effective or they are simlpy putting things under the wrong headings.

There are many issues surrounding access, availability and reading local data and statistics. Have you ever had any problems with local data, or problems accessing local statistics?

Nicky Getgood  interviews B36Blogger’s editor Jessica Dutton, listen here.

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