How Data Packs can save local information systems managers time and money

Local information systems (also known as data observatories) can save you and your users significant amounts of money, not to mention the benefits of better intelligence for decision-making (and not just in your organisation – interviews with local information systems managers also highlight their role in “empowering the local community to challenge the local partners and council”).

But, many areas are still spending significant amounts on basics that can be carried out much more efficiently. Government-commissioned research published earlier this year identified average running costs for local information systems are £63,000 per year (ranging up to £160,000), 80% of which is staff time. And surveys of systems managers identified that ways to decrease costs mainly focused on decreasing the time taken to input data.

We developed the Data and Report Packs to help local information systems managers decrease development and running costs, while still ensuring that the systems meet the need for a central portal for information on the local area.  With 10 users of the Data and Report Packs, we have been taking a look at the value of our Data and Report Packs service.

What do the Packs provide?

The Packs have been developed to load straight into your local information system, providing data and outputs for all users and benefiting from the functionality of your system (we don’t run a separate, password-only, system restricted to a few users). To date, we’ve been working mainly with InstantAtlas Server systems, but the Packs can be loaded into any system able to read standard ‘open data’ formats.

Data Packs provide a very rich range of national and benchmark data for LAs, small areas and over time. We also provide data for any custom areas (eg, local priority neighbourhoods) as well as any higher level comparisons (eg, Metropolitans, Core cities etc). This information provides the essential basis for a range of work including Joint Strategic Needs Assessments, Local Economic Assessments, Equality Duty and so on.

The Packs provide a wide range of visualisations when loaded into InstantAtlas, including profile reports, interactive desktops, Data Views. And as the Packs are loaded into your local information system, all data and outputs can be customised, combined with local data (supplied by local partners), and so on.

Value of the Packs

Based on the business case estimates, the OCSI Data and Report Packs can save as much as 70% of the cost of doing this work in-house over the first year cost, with even greater savings for future years. In addition, roughly one year of staff time would be required to setup the full data and outputs provided in Data and Report Packs – we can deliver within 2 weeks (and we’re working on getting this down to 1 day).

Given the importance of spending every pound effectively, local systems managers will want to ensure that they are making the best of squeezed budgets in order to deliver the information and intelligence needed. The OCSI Data and Report Packs can save significant time and money in developing and maintaining local information systems.

For further information on the Data and Report Packs, including costs, business case analysis of the value of the Packs, and demonstration, please contact Tom Smith on 01273 201 345 or

Data and Report Pack screenshots and visualisations

Radar Map template showing Indices of Deprivation 2007:

Standard template with Google Maps backgrounds:

Profile Reports

Click the following images to view full size.

Line chart:

Stacked bar chart:

Bar chart:

DataView table:

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