Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council covers nine towns situated between Manchester and the Peak District. The council places great emphasis on partnership and has a culture of working closely with local organisations.
The council is part of the Tameside Strategic Partnership which brings together a diverse set of partners from the public, private, voluntary and community sectors to agree key aims, objectives and priorities for Tameside. The partnership includes the police, health service, Tameside College and Greater Manchester Probation Trust. To help the partnership get a better understanding of local needs, a Partnership Information Portal has been developed.
Jody Stewart, Principal Policy Officer, Corporate Performance and Improvement at the council says that for many years it produced a publication called Quality of Life which included selected statistics about the borough. “The challenge was that by the time it was published the statistics were out of date,” says Jody. “So we decided to move towards an online data observatory that would allow people to access up-to-date information on a variety of topics and track this data over time.”
The council worked closely with InstantAtlas to develop a local information system (LIS) called the Partnership Information Portal (PiP). Data was grouped according to the six community strategy aims which are: supportive, prosperous, learning; attractive, safe and healthy. The statistics cover a number of themes including demographics, educational achievement, health, employment and public perceptions. OCSI Data Packs have also recently been included.
Meeting the need
“We launched PiP in early 2009 and the site is open to everyone,” says Jody. The PiP provides easy access to statistics and indicators at differing geographical levels across the borough and helps users find out more about Tameside using interactive maps, tables and graphs.
There is a feedback facility available on the website and Jody says that feedback has always been supportive. A wide range of users are accessing the data from local Housing Associations to researchers from the Fire, Police and health services.
The PiP has become an indispensable resource for a number of reasons. For example, it is used to create area profiles for programmes which require analysis of detailed demographics. It is also used to inform bids and for service delivery and design.
Jody and her team use PiP to ensure that services are being delivered efficiently. “We can do this for each neighbourhood very easily and we don’t have to carry out a separate analysis each time,” she says. “The PiP is used alongside our bespoke customer segmentation tool (Tameside Insight) and together they provide very useful intelligence.”
Future plans include expanding the ward profiles to incorporate more data sets which will provide a rich source of information at local level. The team is also looking to include some Children’s Centre profiles that will provide a picture of the demographics and needs around each centre. In addition, a ‘Have Your Say’ section is being added to provide feedback on consultations undertaken by the council.
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