Leicestershire County Council gets local with big data

The Leicestershire County Council is responsible for all kinds of public services in England. Says Robert Radburn, the county's Research & Insight Team Leader, "There are around 670,000 people in Leicestershire and they all use one of our services whether they know it or not."

Which means they need to understand a lot of information. Robert's team looks at web usage data, survey analytics, and whole lot more—and it’s just not possible to develop deep specialties in all of those areas. By taking a self-service approach, they've been able to answer loads of questions on a variety of topics.

In a recent interview, Robert spoke to the collaborative effect this has had at the county council.

"It's just amazing," he says, "how you show a couple of visualizations and the room starts talking about what they've seen. They don't really care about Tableau, if I'm honest, they just care that they can see this data, and it's the data that affects them every day."

And that's just the way it should be. Not too far away (some 700 kilometers, that is), another government organization is doing similar work with data. Provincie-Zuid Holland uses Tableau for both short- and long-term planning, as well as to present data to the public.

Says Jesper Van Loon, a Policy Advisor for the province, “You have to think about housing problems, projecting future scenarios and development, the demographic development, and you have to project your economic analysis and your mobility analysis...and empower people with the right information.”

Their data sets range from fifteen rows to millions—often unstructured—and cover topics that affect residents every day. A lot of that data is now available online, where 3.5 million citizens can view and interact with it.

As Van Loon puts it, “People see that data can be interesting and lively.” And that empowers better local government. To learn more, watch the full interview.

Photo credit: Copyright Dave Bevis, licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License (photo cropped).

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