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Northamptonshire is divided into seven districts/boroughs and 57 electoral divisions. Northamptonshire County Council responsible for education, social services, libraries, main roads, public transport policy and fire services, trading standards, waste disposal and strategic planning. Northamptonshire Analysis, is a partnership resource which provides access to a range of information and intelligence about Northamptonshire. It is used by a wide range of organisations as a tool to support strategic planning, decision making and partnership working, or by individuals who are interested in what is happening within the county. We spoke to Felicity Roberts, Place Officer, Business Intelligence and Performance Improvement about the initiative.
When did you first find out about Instant Atlas?
The council started using InstantAtlas many years ago when it received grant funding to create a data sharing website called the Northamptonshire Partnership Information Hub. With changes in funding, policy and structure, this then sat dormant for a while. Business Intelligence at the county council was tasked with picking up the project and it was rebranded Northamptonshire Analysis. The aim was to have a single place for key Northamptonshire data made available in an easily accessible format using graphs, maps and tables.
How did you use InstantAtlas?
The first step was to load useful datasets onto the Northamptonshire Analysis website and link it into the mapping software so that we could demonstrate the potential. This data includes information that is publicly available such as population data from the census, deprivation data and information on benefits and businesses. We spent a lot of time on the data, uploading it in a logical and sustainable manner.
Who is Northamptonshire Analysis for?
We have several different user groups including commissioners and other public sector staff who use it to access strategic documents such as the Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). We also have users from the voluntary and community sector who use the information for grant applications. Analysts in our business intelligence function also use it and the products that are created within the site.
What sort of feedback have you had?
There has been a great deal of interest in Northamptonshire Analysis and some good feedback as well as comments about how easy it is to find certain reports. Users have been impressed by the amount of information on the website but often initially found it difficult to navigate. So we have now spent some time working with Geowise to make the user journey on the site easier. This included a step-by-step guide to help people find the particular area they are interested in quickly.
What are your plans for future developments?
I think the work we have already done to improve the website has made a difference, but we are also planning to develop the JSNA pages. We want to make the analysis easier to access. I am keen to add further features to the profiles and dynamic reports so we can create more specialised profile pages. This will reduce the resources needed to produce and send individual documents out to schools, councillors, and other data users.
What are the benefits of using InstantAtlas?
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