Stockport has launched a new open data platform called the “The Big Stockport Picture”.
It is a borough wide platform for people from across the Stockport Partnership (Health, Council, Stockport Homes etc.) to share and publish information, providing more transparency and more opportunities for collaboration and innovation.
What is open data?
Open data is data that can be freely used, re-used and redistributed by anyone. It should be in a format that is convenient to users and is available, ideally, to download over the internet. It is data that is held by organisations that is released into the public domain that would not normally be accessible.
Open data platforms provide the functionality to search for, view, download and use data published by various organisations. Examples include the data.gov.uk site published by the UK government that includes a variety of open datasets, from information on the economy, to defence, transport and health.
Why do we need an open data portal and what benefits will this bring?
Data is key in helping to design inclusive 21st century services and products that meet the needs of the people currently living in Stockport. It also helps us to measure the outcomes and our success in achieving the ambitions of the Borough Plan, ensuring services remain relevant and fit for the future. Our open data portal provides citizens, colleagues and others with access to data on Stockport. There are three main benefits:
- More information for citizens, community groups and partner organisations. This will include information such as:
- Demographics – what does Stockport’s population look like now and in the future? This will include information such as: population trends, age and gender profiles, special educational needs and disability, ethnicity etc.
- Health and Wellbeing – What are the health needs of residents and how might this change in future? This will include information such as: life satisfaction, mental health, health outcomes, Covid impact, joint strategic needs assessments etc.
- Skills and Economy – Are Stockport residents equipped with the necessary skills to succeed and what does the local economy look like now and in the future? This will include information such as: employment and skills, income, poverty and welfare, Brexit impact, economic needs assessments etc.
- Place – Does Stockport have the infrastructure and environmental assets to help the Borough succeed, and is Stockport a place that we can be proud of? This will include information such as: transport and infrastructure, planning, waste and recycling, climate change etc.
- Communities – Does Stockport have resilient communities that care for each other? This will include information such as: community safety, volunteering, community engagement, neighbourhood and locality profiles etc.
- Children and Young People – Do Stockport children have the best start in life and to cope with future challenges? This will include information such as: education outcomes, school attendance and exclusions, children’s social care, youth offending etc.
- Partners will be able to use published data to help support decision making, to source additional benchmarking data and to help inform bids for grant funding and/or to support collaborative projects across multiple organisations.
- Published data can be utilised by citizens, community groups and other organisations to help develop tools, websites etc. to support Stockport citizens.
Progress to date and challenges have we faced?
The site has recently been published with a small number of datasets and dashboards. Examples include: procurement and council spend data, Stockport demographics dashboard, unemployment dashboard, Covid Clinically Extremely Vulnerable cohort summary, indices of deprivation dashboard and council land ownership maps.
Lessons learned from similar projects across the country helped inform how we tackled this project and automating the publication process was something we wanted to solve to help reduce the burden on anyone who wants to publish data, providing greater value for money and freeing up capacity in teams. This was challenging and required an iterative approach to development, using our Extraction, Transform and Load tools alongside cloud services to first publish the data to the development site for testing, followed by publication to the live site.
We also need to consider the information governance and data ethics of publishing datasets in the open. We have strict procedures in place to ensure that the information we share is appropriate. Data aggregation and suppression is also used to ensure individuals are not identified.
What is happening next?
We will continue to engage with colleagues across the partnership and beyond to advertise the new site and to promote the benefits. We will look to develop a publication schedule as we identify which datasets we wish to publish in future, possibly packaging the information into a specific release timetable and releasing multiple datasets at the same time.
We will also look to gather feedback on the use of the site over the next few months (both qualitative and quantitative information) and use this to help inform how the site develops in future.
If you’d like to contribute data to the portal please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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I am new to Stockport and really appreciate this informative process. I will forward the link to those I know would be interested.