A project between Digbeth-based digital firm Mudlark and Birmingham City Council has been awarded a £30,000 grant to showcase how public data can be better shared with citizens.
The team aims to create an online “dashboard” where local residents can see a map of hotspots for requests for council services, covering areas as diverse as potholes, bin collection, graffiti and parking.
The idea is that residents can better understand issues affecting different parts of the city through the colour coded map, as well as get involved and discuss what is happening.
The project opens previously inaccessible records of public comments and complaints about council services in the city.
The Birmingham Civic Dashboard project has been selected as one of four projects to win a competition run by National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), a lottery-funded organisation which promotes innovation in the UK.
Mudlark managing director Toby Barnes said: “With complaints and comments about things like parking or bins that come through the call centre, that information goes through the system and up to the senior management.
“Not only is that not available to the public, it’s also not available to some of the staff. We want to take it and put it on a dashboard.”
The competition is part of NESTA’s Make it Local project which aims to show how local authorities can work with digital agencies to unlock their data and provide useful web-based services for residents.
NESTA said local authorities hold significant amounts of public data, for example transport, carbon emissions, population and crime data, which could be used to power a range of useful, digital services.
Simon Whitehouse, implementation manager at Digital Birmingham, the Birmingham City Council initiative to make sure everyone enjoys the benefits of the digital age, said the project would open up new possibilities for the sharing of information.
He said: “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.”
Philip Colligan, executive director of NESTA’s public services lab, said: “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.
“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.”