Cambridgeshire County Council – ‘Combining customer insight and Output Area Classification data to create visualisations of local information and analysis’

The Research Group at Cambridgeshire County Council has created a number of interactive atlases that combine local data with the social classification tool Output Area Classification (OAC). These have added insight into local areas across the county and provided a fresh approach for interrogating data that is held on resident populations. The interactive maps use various datasets and have been combined with OAC to offer insight into local communities. Gurjeet Rajania, Senior Research Officer: Consultation and Customer Knowledge and Hendrik Grothuis LIP Project Manager, have now just released their most comprehensive atlas to date; the Ward Profile Atlas. This includes a wide range of socio-economic and demographic indicators to develop a fuller picture of issues affecting local areas in Cambridgeshire.

Starting point

We spoke to Gurjeet and Hendrik about their use of interactive maps and customer insight data. Gurjeet explains their starting point was to use data from the 2008 Place Survey and display with OAC. The Place Survey was designed to give a snapshot of residents’ opinions of their local areas and was a requirement of every Local Authority. The survey included a series of national indicators covering satisfaction with local amenities and services, community cohesion and environmental concerns.

Gurjeet and Hendrik wanted to display the data with a high level of granularity at ward level across the county for each of the national indicators. They also wanted to overlay the map with OAC. Hendrik has been producing interactive maps using InstantAtlas for the county council for some time and Gurjeet worked with InstantAtlas in the past to display indices of deprivation at another Local Authority. They both recognised that it would be a useful data presentation tool. Hendrik worked on developing the InstantAtlas template while Gurjeet made sure the data was collected and available in the right

Meeting the need

There has been a great deal of interest from the council’s community engagement team and also from its transport services and community safety teams. This is because it allows them to see a detailed picture of what residents in the area think about local services and it therefore helps them assess gaps in provision. Gurjeet and Hendrik were pleased by the positive response and quickly set about producing another OAC atlas. What followed were the Living Costs and Food Survey atlas and the full OAC atlas.

The combined Place Survey and OAC atlases have been commended by the council’s chief executive, Mark Lloyd. On his blog, he said: “As we look to target our services, we need a really deep understanding of the County so we can answer the ‘who, what, where and when’ questions. I encourage colleagues to make maximum use of the intelligence about the County held by the Research Group.”

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One thought on “Cambridgeshire County Council – ‘Combining customer insight and Output Area Classification data to create visualisations of local information and analysis’

  1. All very interesting work but what is the point of identifying gaps in provision if the Council is forced to mcreate new”gaps” by making major cuts to existing services – eg rural bus services?

    Presumeably the Council’s answer is that this kind of mapping exercise allows identifaction of geographical ares of high needs so that the reduced services can be targeted more efffectively – including prevetative services – at least I hope thats how the councils sees it.

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