Centre for Economic and Social InclusionInstantAtlas_Free_Trial_Download

‘Engaging a wide user audience through useful intelligence on employment and skills in the Capital’

Background

The Centre for Economic and Social Inclusion is the UK’s leading not-for-profit company dedicated to tackling disadvantage and promoting social inclusion in the labour market. CESI is involved in a wide range of initiatives from the provision of training and events to the collection and analysis of UK labour market statistics.

One of the projects it has been involved with is the London Skills and Employment Observatory. The Observatory aims to provide a dedicated one-stop service to users looking to find out information on skills and employment issues in London. It also strives to identify information and research gaps and suggest how these are best addressed.

Having won the tender in 2009 to set up the Observatory, CESI began to look at ways of fulfilling one of the main objectives – to present the large volumes of data in a format that could be easily understood by a wide range of users. At the time the contract did not stipulate whether this should be through maps or other tools.

Getting started

Senior labour market statistician, Lovedeep Vaid, explains that the team at CESI felt the best way to present the data would be to use maps. They looked at a number of options including InstantAtlas and after a review decided that it was the most appropriate to their needs. “The fact that you don’t need to be a GIS expert appealed to us,” says Lovedeep.

The data that CESI wanted to include covered benefits data from Job Seeker’s Allowance by claimant age and duration to Incapacity Benefit as well as data on annual population and employment. All in all it came to over 70 indicators and in some case the data went back to 2008/09.

Lovedeep says that once he got used to setting up the spreadsheet that linked with the data visualisation he realised it could be used elsewhere in the Observatory.

Meeting the need

The Observatory was initially commissioned by the London Development Agency (LDA) whose work is now carried out by the Greater London Authority (GLA). When the Observatory first went live the team at CESI showed it to the LDA. Lovedeep says they loved the interactivity and they were pleased that it met their requirement to open up data to a wide range of users.

More recently the Observatory has been particularly helpful to strategic planners involved in the London Olympic Games. CESI has used InstantAtlas to aggregate data for the Olympic boroughs. This gives planners an insight into the Olympic boroughs and has helped to model the impact the games will have.

Lovedeep says the main users of the Observatory at borough level are in fact those with a technical understanding of how the data works such as researchers. However, department heads and directors are also using it which is why it is important that the data is easy to interrogate and understand.

Lovedeep says the main users of the Observatory at borough level are in fact those with a technical understanding of how the data works such as researchers. However, department heads and directors are also using it which is why it is important that the data is easy to interrogate and understand.

Future developments

Budget constraints at the GLA have created a degree of uncertainty. CESI is waiting to hear whether the contract will be tendered again. In the meantime it is preparing to cut the number of indicators to make the Observatory even easier to use.

observatory mapping tools

Key benefits

  • CESI has found it easy to update the numerous data sets involved using a system that imports data from NOMIS
  • The instant updates have freed up resource to devote to other areas of the Observatory
  • Individuals without technical skills are able to interrogate the data and export their findings into presentations and reports
  • The Observatory combines a number of complex data sets across 33 London boroughs and allows them to be presented within pre-specified boundaries (e.g. London Olympic Boroughs)


Other InstantAtlas stories and reports

NESTA - How interactive online mapping has helped NESTA reach a wider audience

Institute for Public Policy Research - How a think tank is using data presentation to turn a project on the needs of older people in London into a useful resource

CIPFA - Using data visualisation to help Local Authorities better manage their resources

Consumer Credit Counselling Service - Using data visualisation to highlight patterns of debt in the United Kingdom

Greater London Authority - How data visualisation is helping the Greater London Authority meet its objectives




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