OCSI Data packs put more insight into Nottingham

Nottingham’s Local Information System ‘Nottingham Insight’ (www.nottinghaminsight.org.uk) was set up in response to challenges from the Local Strategic Partnership to make better use of evidence, and support stronger local partnerships.

We talked to Mick Dunn, the GIS, Data and Information Business Manager and Wendy Conibear, the Senior Mapping Officer at Nottingham City Council to find out more about the LIS and how they have been using Data Packs to keep up with ever-growing local needs for in-depth information on neighbourhoods and trends over time.


Nottingham Insight was initially built from an in-house GIS system, which supported data and maps at a neighbourhood level. As local need grew for reliable, up-to-date and easy-to-use data, the system was initially extended by integrating the existing system into Instant Atlas Desktop (www.instantatlas.com). This served Nottingham’s needs well for some time, but as the required volume of data continued to increase further, it was necessary to upgrade the system to Instant Atlas Server.

In order to meet the demand for a comprehensive range of public domain data, the Nottingham team decided to enhance the content of the system by integrating the OCSI Data Packs. Combined with locally collected data and the extensive documents hub already in place, this made the whole range of required information instantly available to users.

We decided on Data Packs because the demand for national data was increasingly burdensome for us to meet – people are increasingly needing historic and in depth information

Benefits of Data Packs

Meeting local need for national data

Faced with the demand for reliable and usable national data, Mick explained how it made sense to populate Nottingham Insight with the OCSI Data Packs content. As well the city of Nottingham, the packs provide content for all districts across the county, with the system providing different home-pages for the different local authority areas. In addition, the team continue to collect and input their own locally collected data – enabling them to meet data needs for all users:

Data Packs were particularly appealing as they strongly relate to the JSNA and Community Strategy requirements

Saving time and resources

Mick stressed that, since enhancing the LIS with the packs, the LIS team had saved a considerable amount of time over collecting and managing the data themselves. And due to the packs being formatted for Instant Atlas, Nottingham were able to load content directly into the system using minimal staff time.

“The speed of the Data Packs installation allowed us to get our enhanced LIS up and running so much quicker”

I don’t need to carry out a cost/benefit analysis of Data Packs – it is clear to me that having them saves a lot of time and money that would have been spent on harvesting this data

Easy to use

On loading into the system, content from the Data Packs is automatically sorted into pre-defined themes. As well as the underlying datasets and metadata, the packs define a set of ‘Data Profiles’, easy-to-configure reports that present the data as charts, tables, maps etc.

Wendy Conibear, responsible for managing the Nottingham Insight content, explained that the time saving due to the Data Packs allows her to focus on adding-value to the information for users, presenting the data in more effective ways. Presently, she is developing two new Data Profiles to be presented on the system: ‘Equality and Diversity’ and ‘Educational Improvement’. Once these profiles are set up, users will be able to instantly access the relevant indicators in a rich visual format.

Supporting local users and funding bids

A wide range of people have been actively using Nottingham Insight, including commissioners, service providers and the Voluntary & Community Sector.

Many voluntary organisations based in Nottingham use the information to support funding bids. For example, OSCAR received £10,000 from the Big Lottery ‘Awards for All’ programme to support sickle cell anaemia sufferers locally, using information and data held on the system to demonstrate the importance of the project in their funding bid. They did this by highlighting how their work fitted with key priorities for Nottingham (reducing the gap in health inequality and reducing the number of overweight adults), and by showing that they were targeting a group (19-24 age group) where there was a gap in current services.

I would recommend Data Packs to anyone. OCSI have been fantastic, I cannot fault them. They have been very supportive and responsive to any questions or suggestions we have had along the way

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