We’ve had a phenomenal response to the Make it Local programme and I’m delighted to confirm the following four projects have been selected:

London Borough of Barnet in partnership with mySociety

Barnet Council and mySociety will create two services; FixMyStreet v2.0 and TheyWorkForYou Local.

Barnet Council currently run a local customised version of the national website FixMyStreet.  However, the limitation of FixMyStreet is that it only shows issues raised through the website and problems reported to the council through other channels are not displayed.  This often creates duplicate notifications of problems and can be time consuming and inefficient.

Barnet Council will unlock all data on street-based problems by linking their information with the FixMyStreet website.  This will give local residents a complete picture of all the issues raised in their area.

Barnet Council and mySociety will also create a local government version of TheyWorkForYou.  They will create a simple piece of technology which records local council meetings and outputs a transcription to a website.  Residents will then be able to easily search and access information about their councillors and the issues they are concerned with.

Deb @ NESTA: What I really like about this project is the potential to join the dots; fixmystreet is a very well known and well used service and building on this service from a local perspective is really appealing and something which all local authorities will hopefully have an opportunity to do.  Theyworkforyou Local will also be a really helpful tool in allowing me to see really easily what is being discussed and its level of importance in my local area.

Kirklees Council in partnership with Thumbprint Co-operative

Kirklees Council will unlock land ownership data and create a service which will allow people to take responsibility and make the most of their neighbourhood.  The project will focus on how local people can further enhance the council’s data with their own local knowledge.  Allowing people to use the resulting combined data to get things done for themselves in their neighbourhoods.

Kirklees will create a web service called Who Owns My Neighbourhood which will:

  • Make it easier for community groups to use green spaces
  • Help communities make better use of redundant spaces
  • Help residents raise issues and keep their neighbourhood clean
  • Give residents an opportunity to decide how land is used
  • Build a community resource where residents can add and discuss additional information about their area

Deb @ NESTA: I love the idea of looking at a map of where I live and being able to click on a piece of land and request the use of it for a community allotment or a kids fun day.  Creating a service that allows me to talk to the council as well as the people in my area, not only to help get issues resolved a bit quicker, but also to help me, and others, make the most of where I live is a really interesting concept.

London Borough of Sutton in partnership with Adrian Short

Sutton’s project will open up the library service data to create the Sutton Open Library.  The service will give residents even more access to library information i.e. availability and location of books, resources held in stock etc. while also offering, real-time information in a format suitable for re-use, hacks and mash-ups.  It will also encourage comments and discussion between people borrowing similar titles.

The project will also develop a new resource which involves community borrowing.  Users will be given an opportunity to register books they own and offer them as a community resource, lending titles to other residents in Sutton.

Deb @ NESTA: The Sutton Open Library is a great idea, opening up library information in a useful way and allowing me to engage with the content, the council and the community is excellent.  The community borrowing service is also very interesting; I can think of lots of books I have at home which just sit around collecting dust, why not lend them out and perhaps meet a few more likeminded friends along the way!

Birmingham City Council in partnership with Mudlark

Birmingham City Council will create the Birmingham Civic Dashboard.  The Dashboard will provide a visual heat map of the issues raised by residents and colour code them according to where they are and what they are concerning.  This could be anything from potholes to bin collections.  It will also provide social web tools to enable residents and the council to interact with live data and comment on the issues raised.

The Dashboard will offer a unique insight into issues people contact the council about and the rate at which they get resolved.  The data will be aggregated and taken from the council’s customer relationship management (CRM) database.

Deb @ NESTA: What’s really interesting about this project is that no one really knows what issues people contact the council about.  The dashboard will suddenly show us that info for the first time ever.  It really could be anything from potholes to council tax; anti social behaviour to bin collections.  This level of engagement with the council is very exciting and I hope it will promote lots of interesting discussion (and action) on the types of issues people feel are important to them.

We received a variety of proposals from local authorities across the country and choosing just four became an impossible task!

I’d like to thank everyone who applied to the programme, the quality of entries was very high and we hope we can still engage with everyone who applied and encourage you to contribute to our blog.

In addition to the many applications we received from local authorities we also received a rather interesting application from a young developer based in Manchester.  Following the release of bus timetable data, Josh Picket (15 years old) has developed a web-based smartphone app which allows users in Manchester and London to quickly and easily find out bus timetable information and also look up when and the next bus is due.  Josh and his co-developer Ben Webb developed the app during a hack week run by Young Rewired State.  The app is already available to download free from the iTunes store and Josh is hoping to extend the service to include other parts of the UK.  This is just one great example of how easy it can be to develop a useful service using open data.

Here’s a link to Josh’s app: http://www.timefinder.org/ you can also read more about the journey of the app on his blog: http://alymbic.co.uk/blog

Do keep us up to date with all your experiences of using open data.  Josh and his co-developer Ben have already shown us the possibilities are endless……

Deborah Fox, Programme Manager