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September 20, 2011 / Jo Ivens

Brighton and Hove Local Information Service explained

Each of the DataBridge interviews has highlighted the need for a place to find, and share, local information on Brighton and Hove. However, while three groups interviewed were aware that a local service already exists with this explicit role – Brighton and Hove Local Information Service (BHLIS) – they did not make use of the service for a range of reasons.

Data visualisation

DataBridge partners, OCSI, have produced a note briefly reviewing BHLIS, including the system content and functionality, and highlighting some of the ways that the system could be strengthened for VCS (and other) users. Note that these are our impressions based on a half-day use of the site: we have not carried out a full review of the system.

The full report can be downloaded here (5 pages), but here are a few key points:

Datasets & Data views

BHLIS aims to provide local partners with national and local statistics and indicators, and also provide a central location for local reports and analysis. The Data Explorer and ‘Advanced Data Explorer’ provide a searchable list of the datasets, grouped by theme and/or geography. BHLIS holds 73 datasets which can be viewed on-screen, downloaded in Excel (or CSV) format, or visualised using InstantAtlas dynamic reports (see left).

Reports

The ‘City Wide Needs and Reports’ provides a searchable list of the profile reports, grouped by theme and/or geography including the ‘State of the City’ and ‘Joint Strategic Needs Assessment’ reports. Interactive reports using the live data held on BHLIS (ie, so these are updated when newer data is added) include the Ward Profiler.

Resources

The ‘Resources’ link provides a searchable list of the resources, grouped by theme and/or geography. BHLIS holds 340 uploaded resources, including local and national reports (such as the Brighton & Hove Joint Strategic Needs Assessment), and links to other online content (such as health profiles for LAs). It is not clear that document (or dataset) resources have been provided by local VCS groups, although the websites for some groups such as Amaze are linked.

Recommendations

BHLIS could provide a very useful first port of call for users needing information on the local area. However it currently feels a little neglected, with only 3 data updates in the past 12 months (although many more reports have been uploaded). We appreciate that resources (for BHLIS and other corporate support) are under severe pressure, however BHLIS as it stands does not quite ‘work’ for VCS groups looking for up-to-date local information.

The full report makes a series of recommendations for improving BHLIS under the headings of Meeting audience needs, Improving the content, Website brand and usability. Download the full report.

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