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Page last updated at 12:19 GMT, Wednesday, 13 October 2010 13:19 UK
Birmingham's Civic Dashboard
A colour coded heat-map will highlight issues concerning local residents

Birmingham City Council receives a huge amount of correspondence from the public, reporting everything from potholes to graffiti.

Now the council is to give the public access to a Civic Dashboard which will monitor these reports.

Using innovative technology, local people will be able to look online at the council's database and monitor what is going on in their area.

Residents and the council will be able to use the social web tool to see themes developing and the broader issues they illustrate.

Birmingham is one of four councils chosen to develop the system, after a competitive tendering process held by NESTA (National Endowment for Science, technology and the Arts).

Digital Birmingham and Mudlark were chosen to develop the application with the city council.

How will it work?

A daily report will be produced showing requests made by the general public. From the report a colour coded heat-map of the city will be shown on a website.

This will allow people to look at the issues raised in their area and also see how efficiently they are resolved by the city council. It will also allow previously inaccessible records of public comments and complaints to be viewed.

The Civic Dashboard will build up over time to provide an historic record of the area.

Philip Colligan, executive director of NESTA's public services lab says it will bring real benefits.

Transforming public services

By January 2011 Birmingham's Civic Dashboard should be up and running

"Councils hold huge amounts of data that has the potential to transform the way we all relate to public services, if only we could access it," said Mr Colligan.

"Though the Make it Local campaign, we wanted to bring together digital media developers and pioneering local authorities to show exactly what could be achieved."

Simon Whitehouse, Digital Birmingham's Implementation Manager says it will dramatically improve interaction between the council and local people.

"It will give us the opportunity to explore the practical use of linked data within a local authority, revealing local concerns and issues being raised through our customer relationship management database.

"But equally we're looking forward to making use of our open data to create a range of conversations with Birmingham residents."

It is hoped that Birmingham's Civic Dashboard will be operational by January 2011.


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