visualize | communicate | ENGAGE
The London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames in south west London has a strategic partnership with a number of organisations including: the Children and Young People's Trust, the local Health and Wellbeing Board, the police and Hounslow and Richmond Community Healthcare NHS Trust. The council decided that it needed to ensure that all partners had access to a central, consistent evidence base so that each could get a better understanding of need in the borough.
Liz Harrison, Business Information Manager, says developing a local information system (LIS) has linked the council’s desire to become a strong commissioning body. “In order to do this well you need access to a wide range of information,” says Liz. “We also wanted to make sure residents, who are interested, had a useful resource.”
Liz was brought in specifically to work on the project and her first task was to look at what the options were in terms of developing and hosting the LIS. “I spent a lot of time reviewing other systems and in the end we came to the decision that an off-the-shelf system would be best.”
The borough went out to tender and one of the factors that were included for consideration was maintenance of the site once it was up and running. The borough wanted to ensure this wouldn’t be resource intensive. “Speed was also an issue for us because we wanted to go for a system that could be implemented quickly,” says Liz.
InstantAtlas was selected as the preferred provider and Liz started working with the support team to develop the LIS. She knew from the start that they would take a themed approach to presenting the data and as well as data from local partners. “This meant we had some data for people to manipulate straight away and hopefully would encourage partners to submit more of their own.”
In addition census data, data from Children’s Services and data from the primary care trust (such as general practice Quality and Outcomes data) was also included.
“As for speed, we managed to get DataRich up and running very quickly. We got agreement to go ahead with the tender in April 2012 and went to procurement in early summer. The site was ready for launch in November,” says Liz. “We had an initial test phase where we invited members of the senior team to give us feedback and they were very keen and excited with what we had developed.”
Meeting the need
DataRich presents information under a range of themes that include:
Liz explains that significant effort went into communicating the launch of the new LIS with a focus on staff. Presentations, postcards and a press release were all part of this effort. Liz says: “Our aim now is to roll it out to a wider audience with workshops for the voluntary sector to help organisations understand the site and what it can be used for.”
DataRich site - developed with the LBRUT team and
InstantAtlas Professional Services
At the launch, Councillor Tony Arbour, expressed his support: “Data Rich is the single most complete source of information and intelligence about Richmond upon Thames and its people. It is a great source for useful facts and figures that will help with writing reports and presentations, inform planning, prepare funding applications or support research and evaluations. Data Rich can also be used by students, academics or indeed businesses looking to relocate to the borough and wanting more information about their future customer base. The possibilities are endless.”
According to Liz the LIS has provoked discussion about the way the council’s analysis function will work in the future. Analysts were essential to the development of the site and Liz is expecting them to drive the LIS forward. There is also potential for greater co-working with other boroughs as the number of shared services starts to increase.