Local information systems resource pack

InstantAtlas logoIf you’re interested in local information systems, and how mapping and data visualisation can inform planning of public services, have a look at GeoWise’s local information systems resource pack.

The resource pack pulls together lots of seminars, case studies and reference documents based on implementations of InstantAtlas, a geographic data visualisation tool, across local government and NHS organisations in England, Scotland and Wales in 2008.

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Should the Observatory keep blogging?

This Observations blog was set up in July 2008. Formally, the aim is to support one of our strategic objectives:

Provide effective access to intelligence to encourage higher standards of evidence–based decision-making

Also, as the first foray into blogging at the Observatory, it’s an experiment to see what happens when we share information in this way.

Six months on and this blog is being reviewed. At the end of January 2009, the Observatory’s management team will decide whether we will continue blogging here.

Your feedback on how we’re doing would be much appreciated. Do you find this blog useful? Are the posts relevant to your work? Is this blog providing “effective access to intelligence”?

Local names for Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs)

A member of the West Midlands Regional Data and Intelligence Network has raised a query with us about local names for Middle Layer Super Output Areas or MSOAs (find an explanation of what super output areas are below).

Each MSOA is identified by a nine character code (for example E02000001). The Office for National Statistics gave all Local Authorities the opportunity to provide “local names” to give local meaning to these MSOA codes, examples of which you will find in this document (XLS, 852KB).

From the West Midlands, only Walsall, Sandwell and Shropshire have provided these local names. Can anyone shed light on the others?

I’m looking for approved names that are in use by Local Authorities. Please email me if you can help – I’ll post updates here.

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Creative industries economic estimates

Gathering at the New Art Gallery WalsallThe annual creative industries economic estimates are now available from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Statistics are provided on:

  • Gross value added of the creative industries
  • Exports of services for the creative industries
  • Creative employment
  • Numbers of businesses within the creative industries in the UK

The figures are for 2006/2007, the latest available period.

Dave Harte has usefully pulled out the highlights from the figures.

West Midlands local development annual monitoring reports

The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 requires local planning authorities to regularly monitor planning policies that affect the planning and development of their areas.

Each council is required to produce an Annual Monitoring Report which is published in December to assess the effectiveness of policy in the Local Development Framework.

These show whether the progress towards targets and milestones in the Local Development Framework are being met and whether council planning policies are being successfully implemented. If policies are not working as intended – or are not achieving sustainable objectives – the Annual Monitoring Report includes suggested actions.

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Job vacancy at the Cancer Intelligence Unit

Our partners at the West Midlands Cancer Intelligence Unit are advertising the following vacancy:

Cancer Registration Information Officer

  • Band 5 £20,225 – £26,123 (1 April 2008 )
  • Full-time 37.5 hours a week
  • Fixed term 2 year post
  • Closing date:  22 January 2009
  • Interview date: 4 February 2009

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Segmentation tools – do you use them?

At the last meeting of the Observatory’s Population and Society Group, members shared how they use market segmentation tools.

These tools divide the market or population into subgroups with similar motivations, and are used for social and market research. Widely-used bases for segmenting include:

  • Geographic differences
  • Personality differences
  • Demographic differences
  • Use of product differences

Demography and Health group members use the segmentation tools to discover such things as marketing preferences, lifestyle choices and concentrations of ethnic groups. This information is then used to direct public services in the West Midlands.

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