The Central UK Government looks after national affairs, such as health, defense, foreign policy and the environment, and is responsible for the general welfare of citizens and gives protection to the most vulnerable members of society.
Local councils exist to help make decisions, spend their allocated budget and manage local issues in their constituency. Councils are split into:
– County Councils, dealing with education, transport, planning, public safety and other services spanning their county;
– District, borough and city councils that are responsible for rubbish collection, recycling, housing and other responsibilities covering a smaller area;
– On occasions a single body will manage all areas of responsibility.
Needless to say, local councils deal with huge amounts of structured and unstructured data that needs managing, organising and processing. DCC have worked with councils in many capacities such as:
– Collecting reviews on on-street parking permit schemes;
– Council tax billing survey;
– Demographic survey;
– School consultations;
– Library consultations;
– Opinion asking, e.g. feedback on whether motorcycles should be allowed in bus lanes;
– Refuse survey;
– Various “Have Your Say” questionnaires;
– Surveys directed at specific individuals i.e. “Young Peoples Survey”;
– ..many, many more
One of the problems faced by councils is that the end-users of public services, such as libraries and swimming pools, are from different backgrounds and age groups, and they access and use services in different ways. Reaching out and obtaining feedback from all the different users would require a variety of data collection techniques to be employed. Not an easy task when budgets are tight and councils have to justify each and every cost element. This is why using data collected from a sample to represent the wider population has become a popular method.
DCC has a range of in-house data collection tools, from paper to mobile devices. Once briefed, we understood the council’s dilemma, advised a strategy to implement, and provided the tools to carry it out effectively. Some of the solutions deployed were simple, such as extracting data from closed and open-ended questions, others were slightly more technology savvy utilising tablets.
In some instances, all that was required on completion was provision of the raw data to the council for analysis. On other occasions, DCC used a dynamic interactive dashboard, that collected the data as and when it was submitted, differing from the usual method of adding the data at the end of the project. The purpose of this method was to allow councils to make decisions in real-time. Throughout, DCC maintained our 100% data accuracy promise and delivered on time.
DCC’s vision for the future
Following on from the use of a dynamic interactive dashboard, DCC believe this type of data collection could be utilised in many different capacities at council level such as:
– Visualise data on appointments and cancellations;
– Conglomeration of feedback
Visualisation of appointments, cancellations and complaints could highlight patterns that may not have been recognised otherwise. Feedback from websites, phone calls, social media as well as all other mediums can be conglomerated using a method similar to this. Results from projects that councils are running on a monthly or annual basis can be tabulated on the dashboard for comparison.
These are just some of our ideas for the future in a local council setting, if you would like to know more about our work with local councils, as well as other projects, or if you would like assistance and advice for your project, feel free to contact us.
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