Socitm and GDS to expand local digital dashboard initiative

A programme to use digital dashboards to analyse council service delivery is to expand after its initial work identified opportunities to reduce failure demand.

Public sector ICT representative body Socitm has worked with the Government Digital Service to create a dashboard relating to missed bin collections in Solihull which has been operating since Christmas.

Steve Halliday, outgoing president of Socitm and head of IT at Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council, said that the programme would now be expanded to around a dozen councils, covering three new council transactions.

He told this morning’s Socitm spring conference in London: “The next iteration will enable us to compare data between councils. This is an agile process and we will work out whether it is then worth expanding the initiative further.”

The initial work in Solihull had enabled the council to identify geographical areas where problems with bin collections regularly occurred.

He said: “More than often we were missing bins in locations due to bad architecture. The information allows us to have a conversation with residents about how they can present their bins more visibly.”

According to Halliday, the Solihull bins dashboard, hosted on, recorded problems reported in the categories of digital, by phone and face to face.

He said this had the potential to reduce an emphasis on channel shift to one of reducing or removing failure demand.

 I am not that interested in channel shift if we can get demand management down. Not only are we reducing the transaction costs, but we don’t have to spend money on going to clear the uncollected bins.” he said.

He added that the expansion of the programme would help discover “if we just got lucky and it only happens in this transaction,” he said.

Halliday added that digital dashboards would also allow councils to have better-informed conversations with private sector suppliers of outsourced services.

In addition, there was a potential to use a Big Data approach to link data collected to other data such as those relating to troubled families – with the possibility of identifying potential areas for early intervention.

Matt Harrington, associate product manager at the Government Digital Service, told delegates:  “Through digital dashboards, we will automate data collection, ending resource intensive report collation.

“It ends the need to spend resources producing reports which are often pages in length and hard to find the bit you are looking for and by the time it has been collected it is not relevant.”

The dashboards can merge data from analytics software as well as offline spreadsheets, he said.

Colin Marrs

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