The future of the Observatory

Following the announcement of its abolition, Advantage West Midlands is seeking new ownership for the West Midlands Regional Observatory.

Advantage West Midlands received two expressions of interest to an open bidding process, which closed on 19th November. Marketing Birmingham has been selected as the preferred bidder and Advantage West Midlands is currently negotiating with them. The Agency’s Board is expected to make a final decision on the outcome of those negotiations at its January meeting.

Being the preferred bidder means that Marketing Birmingham have exclusive rights to negotiate with Advantage West Midlands re the assets of the Observatory. There is no commitment on either side to a sale or transfer in advance of those negotiations.

As the Agency is now focused on its closure, the Observatory will continue to operate, but at a greatly reduced capacity. As such, responses to enquiries may take longer than normal and our website (www.wmro.org) will be updated less frequently.

For more info, contact:
From Advantage West Midlands – Iain Neville tel: 0121 380 3563, email: iainnev [at] gmail.com
From Marketing Birmingham – Tim Manson tel: 0121 202 5031, email: Tim.Manson [at] marketingbirmingham.com

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Take part in Observatory website survey

We launched a survey this morning asking what you think of the West Midlands Regional Observatory website – and we would very much value your feedback.

The aim of the survey is to learn what users think of the website and how it can be improved.

The survey should only take 3 minutes to complete and will remain open for the next two weeks, closing 12th February.

Please go here to complete the survey.

Thanks in advance for taking part. Your responses will directly influence how the website is developed.

Draft new menu structure for wmro.org

West Midlands Regional Observatory logoIt’s just over 12 months since the re-launch of the Observatory’s website www.wmro.org. Since the re-launch last year, our range of research has widened and there is a new focus on particular themes.

To try and help visitors to our website more easily find the research and data they want, I’m considering how best to restructure the menu navigation.

To help in this, I’d really value your feedback on a proposed new menu structure for the website.

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Sharing intelligence from Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire

Yesterday, I attended the Coventry, Solihull and Wawickshire Researchers’ Forum to demonstrate the Observatory’s Resource Catalogue and show how the data and intelligence in the catalogue might support the work that they’re engaged in, and also to encourage further contributions to the catalogue from members of the forum to help share their data and intelligence across the region and sub-region.

The Resource Catalogue is available through the Observatory’s website and collects research, data and policy documents from across the West Midlands to create a fully searchable database for policy makers, decision makers, researchers and anyone else to access. There are contributions from organisations across the public, private and third sectors and what is particularly useful is that almost all are free and available immediately via a web-link.

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Have your say!

We at the Observatory aim to provide you with a first class information service on the region, and a website that makes this easy for you to do. Recently we have been thinking about what we could do to improve finding information on our website and how we could lay it out better for you.

To help me with this I would be very grateful if you could give me five minutes of your time to complete an online questionnaire about it.

Please use this link to access the questionnaire

Can’t I just use Google?

When promoting the regional resource catalogue to colleagues around the region, we tend to find that most tell us they’re using a search engine like Google, Live or Yahoo! to try to source data and information.

However, they also tell us that these Internet search engines do not always locate the information that they need or they present a lot of irrelevant material that the user has to trawl through before locating the desired information.

The regional resource catalogue, available here on wmro.org, was set up specifically to provide easy access to data and information that is directly relevant to the West Midlands region. We aim to link our users through the catalogue with the data and information about the West Midlands and its sub-​regions that they need to inform their work and inform decision-​making across the Heart of England.

We currently provide access to more than 2,500 reports, datasets, websites, strategies and other useful resources, and the content is constantly being reviewed, updated and added to. Continue reading