Councils urged to join new digital dashboard

The Government Digital Services has launched the second dashboard for local government services.

The platform, which displays data on library item renewals was developed by the GDS with Warwickshire County Council.

It follows the first GDS dashboard for local government – for bin collections – launched in conjunction with Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council earlier this year.

In a blog post yesterday, GDS associate product manager Matt Harrington said: “Library item renewals is a service that’s both replicated in the majority of UK authorities, and has a large volume of users.

“We’ve chosen to build a dashboard for such a service first, as it can be easily reused by any local authority that provides us with similar data in the future.”

Preliminary results from the new dashboard have challenged previous assumptions about the habits of service users, Harrington said.

“For example, the digital renewal rate of library items from senior citizens was widely assumed to be very low, but the data shows this is not the case – in fact 43.7% of senior citizens renewing library items do so online,” he said.

In a separate blog post, Steve Halliday, immediate past president of Socitm Steve Halliday, who is head of ICT at Solihull, said that 72.4% of young adults (aged 16-17) used digital channels to renew books, compared to 53.5% of adults between 18 and 59.

In addition, very few users used an automated phone line to renew their books, according to analysis of the data.

Halliday said the next stage would be to invite all other libraries in the country to provide their data to the dashboard, and to present the data on maps.

Harrington also said that GDS would continue to work with local authorities to create more missed bin and library item renewal dashboards.

He said: “Our focus remains on central government but we are keen to build a platform that can be used across government and the public sector.

“It’s been particularly useful working with local authorities and finding their needs to be often very similar to key departments and agencies.”

Colin Marrs

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