Local government launches data API

A wealth of information on local areas is to be made available through a new Application Programmable Interface (API) developed by the Local Government Association.

The LGA is making available a direct data feed from the LGA’s benchmarking services, LG Inform and LG Inform Plus, which contain more than 3,000 separate datasets covering financial, social, performance and contextual information.

It hopes that organisations and companies will use the information for their own applications and systems.

Peter Fleming, chair of the LGA’s improvement and innovation board, said: “Opening up access to this level of information is going to be of real help to so many organisations that are actively engaged in making their communities better places.

“Organisations working at a national level can benefit from being able to open up access to this information to their members, and for small digital businesses it will provide the potential for all sorts of different possible commercial ventures such as building apps. or developing systems and websites.”

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The data is structured so that selections may be made for a wide range of geographical areas, from individual wards, to groups of wards, councils, groups of councils, regional and national areas, he said.

The API will be free for what the LGA described as “light use” but will incur a small charge for more extensive examinations of the data.

LG Inform launched in December, giving information on topics from age and ethnicity to housing tenures, education and economic activity.

Inform Plus supplements the LG Inform service, allowing subscribers to drill down from authority wide information to much smaller areas, such as wards.

Colin Marrs

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