The Birmingham Civic Dashboard, funded by NESTA, is one of the first UK projects combining public data and civil engagement. The application, developed by Digital Birmingham and Mudlark takes live data from the city's Customer First contact database and shows trends on an online map, allowing the council and residents to identify 'hotspot' areas where there are common or recurring issues, reported to the council, such as housing repairs and missed waste collections.
In turn residents can comment on the trends that emerge over time, giving an on-the-ground perspective on particular issues. The pilot website is part of ‘Make it Local’, a pioneering project run by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA).
Putting data to use in this novel way enables the Council's Customer First team to look at new ways of involving local people in transforming the delivery of services, and get to the root causes of customer complaints and particular issues.
Philip Colligan, Executive Director of NESTA’s public services lab, said: “The open data movement is often focused on accountability of public services. That’s important but only part of the picture. The Make it Local programme and this excellent project from Digital Birmingham and Mudlark shows how the data held by councils can be used in innovative ways to transform services and create real value for citizens and communities.”