Laura Sharman 04 February 2021

Councils need funding to maintain data innovations, says report

Councils need funding to maintain data innovations, says report image

Local government needs increased investment to ensure recent data-driven innovations are maintained, a new report has argued.

The analysis by the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI) found the pandemic has accelerated the innovative way councils use data at a local level.

It highlights a range of innovations by local government during the crisis such as Argyll and Bute Council’s trial of drone technology to deliver medical supplies and the VIPER tool in Essex to enable emergency services to share data in real time.

It also found that health data has been shared with local authorities in new ways to better target support to vulnerable people.

However it warns that without increased investment and an improvement in data skills, local authorities will struggle to build on recent progress.

Edwina Dunn, board member for the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, said : 'Almost every aspect of local government has required at least temporary reform during the pandemic. Data and data-driven technologies have played an important part in enabling local authorities to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, helping to inform public health measures, protect the most vulnerable in local communities, and keep public services running.

'With the right support, councils can retain and build on efforts to utilise data effectively, in a way that is in keeping with the expectations of their residents, to provide local services communities can rely on.'

New polling shows that 50% of people want to engage with their local authority on how data is used to make decisions.

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