News archive

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Local Government working together for the 2014 Transparency Code

The Government has published a revised local government transparency code. Under various new regulations the code mandates that local authorities must publish certain datasets, the first of which must be published by 31 December 2014. 


The Local Government Association has updated its practitioner’s guidance to support local authorities to publish this information in a way that useful for local authorities and local people. Four separate draft guidance documents covering the various requirements are now published and we are inviting comment on these.

Two information and briefing events are also planned in London and Manchester

LG Inform service improvements July 2014

Over recent months you have reported to us a number of issues and feature requests regarding LG Inform (www.lginform.local.gov.uk). We are pleased to announce that we have been working hard on all of these and recently updated the system with a number of fixes and enhancements.

Financial incentives for English Councils to publish selected open data

The Local Government Incentive scheme is an initiative for English Local Authorities funded from the Release of Data Fund. The scheme will encourage and enable local authorities to publish datasets as Open Data based on data requests received by the Open Data User Group (ODUG) from the Open Data community. It is hoped that the results will serve as an example of how the local government sector can work together to publish data from disparate sources into a consistent national data resource for innovative uses within the wider data community.

The Local Government Association manages the scheme which will provide technical support and coordination.  The scheme has provision to give local authorities cash incentives to publish open standardised datasets, which will combine to deliver a national view of the data. The three datasets which are funded under this initiative are:

  • public conveniences,
  • planning applications and
  • licensing (focusing in this first instance on alcohol/light entertainment premises).

Making Transparency Work 2014 - local government pre-summer learning events

Regional events to learn and share your knowledge about local open data

This was the second year of our  Making Transparency Work roadshows, intended to inform, demonstrate, share and learn what transparency and open data means and how local authorities, communities and local businesses can benefit and add value to the data by sharing and using it. Open Government is about local authorities opening up their data stores, letting citizens know what they are doing and sharing their data. At the same time, this drives efficiencies within councils and lets community groups and businesses use the data to add value. 

Local Government Association

Read more to discover what was discussed and see the agenda with links to the presentations

Calling local government records managers - come to a new tools learning event - 10-Jul-14

What are we talking about?  What are local government records managers?  What do they do?  How is their job changing and what tools are emerging to help them succeed more easily and consistently across the local government sector?

Imagine you’re a bibliophylakes (records manager) in Roman Egypt. Every day you walk in to work at the demosia bibliotheke (records office) and records are piling in from all corners of the province. Records are collated into lists, the lists go out for exetasis (scrutinisation), and the Empire keeps ticking over; the accountability of the state is facilitated by and based in that office. How is the duty of records management any different today? (Your next of kin or offspring may be glad to hear that the job’s no longer hereditary, though.)

It’s certainly true that the theory hasn’t changed much. Even today, the Lord Chancellor’s code of practice on records management tells us that ‘as a general principle, records should be kept for as long as they are needed by the authority’. Surely similar rules existed 2,000 years ago, otherwise we wouldn’t know all that we know about them. Today, however, the disposal of records can be the bane of a records manager’s life, as they’re slowly buried beneath mountains of paper and the costs of storing these piles mounts too.

Natural neighbourhoods – a new way to define where people live and work

A new facility is now available through local government's information standards for effective service delivery - the esd standards - to allow users to define and use their own geographical areas known as Natural Neighbourhoods.  Our first example of an application where such areas can be used is in the LG Inform Plus report builder and viewer where local authorities, information managers and even the general public can view reports about the performance, character, context and general make-up of those natural neighbourhoods.  Such natural neighbourhoods could be: town centres, parishes, school catchment areas, clinical comminssioning areas, sales territories and so on.

The application takes data at the lowest possible spatial units available within the LG inform metrics library and aggregates them up to report on the natural neighbourhoods.

Read more about this in the LG Inform Plus news room at this link.

Re-imagining the high street

The Technology Strategy Board is to invest up to £8m in an Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition to encourage new ways of attracting people back to UK high streets. 

This competition seeks to develop new technology enabled solutions that can address the challenges facing the high street by exploring innovative approaches to retailing, service provision, logistics and travel management. 

Briefings on £2.5M hyperlocal media funding hosted by Technology Strategy Board and Nesta

A competition has been announced by the Technology Strategy Board and Nesta, working together to develop a Hyperlocal Media innovation call for collaborative research and development of information, news and commerical services for geographical communities. The aim of the £2.5m competition will be to invest in several significant projects across the UK. A mix of project ideas that target rural and urban areas are anticipated, but all are intended to develop the kinds of enabling technologies, platforms and services which build up the businesses of the future and help the UK to become a world-centre for hyperlocal media.


A new look for esd-toolkit

LG Inform PlusThere’s now a new look to the esd.org.uk pages – home to effective service delivery standards and evidence based improvement tools.

We are now known as LG Inform Plus !  There is a promotional overview sheet for you to read.

We will be adding to these new features considerably in future months.  The current collection of tools and benefits are summarised on a brief online data sheet.

Go to esd.org.uk or local.gov.uk/lginformplus for more details on the new features and further news.

New version of LG Inform is available for local authorities and Fire Services

LG Inform is the LGA’s free data service which presents you with up-to-date published data about your local area and the performance of your council. Whether you’re interested in scrutiny, a portfolio area or simply need an overview, LG Inform can help you review and compare performance with other authorities.

New LG Inform Released

We are delighted to announce that the new version of LG Inform has now been released.   Read more about this LG Inform news article on the LGA web site. Or perhaps is quick summary promotional advert here.

Officers and members from local authorities and fire services can access LG Inform at http://lginform.local.gov.uk, using your local authority email address.

If you have any queries or comments, please use the feedback form within LG Inform, or post to the forum of this LG Inform Knowledge Hub group.

Finally, if you use Internet Explorer 7 as your browser, please read the useful guide in the LG Inform Knowledge Hub group library.

esd-toolkit offline during Saturday 14 September 2013

All web pages from esd.org.uk will be offline during the (UK) day time on Saturday 14 Sepetember 2013 for maintenance.

Access the data underlying LG Inform via the LG Inform Plus API

LG Inform API powered by esd

The Application Programming Interface (API) that drives LG Inform and LG Inform Plus is now open to subscribing Local Authorities providing a direct data feed to out 2000 plus metrics for use in your own specialist reporting.

Utility for identifying popular services

Service popularity analytics

We have now published an analytics tool to demonstrate how we might show the relative popularity of different council services through different channels.

The tool results from discussions at Information Management Working Group meetings.  Sample data is populated from logs of service transactions kindly provided by Barnsley Counci.

The tool shows the relative popularity of functions from the Functions List and services from the Local Government Services List.  We can swap out the Function List for new Navigation List, when the current consultation on that is complete if that would be more useful.

Next version of LG inform is almost ready

Over the last few months we have been undertaking an intensive period of testing the new site with all its new functionality. We are now entering the final stages and have a planned launch date to local authorities for LG Inform from the 31st July.

At this time we will be in touch with all current users to send more details about the new site. These will also be shared on the LG Inform Knowledge hub group.

Meanwhile, please take a look at documentation which highlights some of the key functionality of the new LG Inform.  The link to this document with more details and screen shots here - https://knowledgehub.local.gov.uk/group/lginform/activity

If you have any further questions or comments, please either send them through to lginform@local.gov.uk or post them on to the LG Inform Group on the Knowledge hub.

Powered by esd – I’m a belieber

Clouds over LondonThe prize for best web app at the Building apps for local communities hackathon went to Team Bieber for their Clouds over London app (for use in the Chrome browser), using esd-toolkit’s Application Profile Interface (API).  The app, described here, indicates the potential suitability of different areas for people moving into a city.

Major upgrade of esd-toolkit reporting and standards – take a free look

Report creation options

From today you'll notice two major changes to esd-toolkit:

  1. lists that make up esd-standards are presented in friendlier and faster web pages
  2. charts, tables and maps for distinguishing the different communities in each council's area are cleaner and have more up-to-date information

The new pages are designed to make it easier to use the core elements of esd-toolkit and distinguish them from the myriad of detailed features, which are still available to esd-toolkit aficionados.

Rationalising standards, better services, compliant and efficient records keeping

esd navigation

The discussion and conclusions of the Information Management Working Group Meeting of Thursday 14th March 2013 are now online with links to presentations and web pages.

See the meeting notes which cover our discussions on:

  • the role of different lists that group services in the Local Government Service List
  • techniques for responding to service requests via social media
  • ways of helping one another identify top tasks
  • how we measures of service effectiveness fit into the Local Government Business Model
  • what the Records Retention Project will achieve

Making Transparency work for you - London, Bristol, Leeds events March 2013

esd-toolkit: improving together Local Government Association

The understanding, take-up and growth of the "transparency agenda" in local government is beginning to gain momentum. An obvious beneficial outcome is improved support for our accountability and as an aid to better engagement with our custromers - the general public at large.

If implemented correctly, an approach to transparency should also foster general service improvement, efficiencies & drive social and economic growth.

However, technical, political and aspirational advances are moving fast and, as a sector, we need to work together to develop an approach towards better data sharing underpinned by a consistent strategy and a common standards framework.

A series of three events was held by the Local Government Association under the auspices of the esd-toolkit programme to provide a forum for local government information managers to take stock, understand the current state of play and consider the emerging strategies to support data linking and the publication of re-usable data.  Presentations used and subject areas discussed are available for download.


The new improved LG Inform service is almost here

We are only weeks away from the launch of the new improved LG inform service.  Find out more details and view a short online video on the Local Government Association's anout-lginform page

Information Management Working Group Meeting – Thursday 14th March 2013

esd navigation

Are you interested in how Information is managed across your organisation and with your partners?

esd-toolkit has an active Information Management Working Group (IMWG) which is next meeting on Thursday 14th March at Bevin Hall, Local Government Association, Local Government House, Smith Square, London SW1P 3HZ.

Whether you have attended an IMWG before or you are considering coming along for the first time there is sure to be something that will be of interest to you.

LGA online resources workshop supporting improving together

LGA A most successful series of LGA/esd-toolkit workshops have taken place in the regions as follows:  London (24-Jan-13), Taunton (29-Jan-13), Durham (19-Feb-13), Birmingham (27-Feb-13), Barnsley (7-Mar-13) and Preston (26-Mar) with around 400 representatives from local government meeting together to view and consider the wealth of online resources, tools and data content available to assist in better service design, performance evidencing and productivity gains.  These resources were applied (as examples) to key challenges affecting local government currently - toubled families, adult healthier lifestyles and wellbeing, waste management and recycing.  esd-toolkit


One more event in this series remains to take place in North West region to be held in Preston on 26-Mar-13. 

Local government members and officials are invited to book their places on the esd-toolkit events page.

Presentations and materials used at the events are now available for download.

Update on use of metadata - eGMS and IPSV

esd-standardsThe eGovernment Metadata Standard (eGMS) has been getting some long-overdue attention from the Public Sector Information Domain - Metadata Standards Working Group, run by the National Archives.  The entire eGMS will be updated this year.

The update will include a significant change regarding use of subject metadata and Integrated Public Sector Vocabulary (IPSV).  Specifically it no longer mandates IPSV but recommends use of IPSV or another vocabulary published according to the SKOS standard used consistently across the relevant sector.

Announcing events to show case the wealth of online tools to support improvement

Local Government Association

We are running a number of regional events to showcase how our online services can help councils tackle their challenges and take advantage of opportunities to deliver better value for money.

Local government is responsible for delivering over 1000 unique services against a backdrop of increased demand, reduced resources, and changing expectations.


It’s no longer enough to just be better. We need to pull together and share our knowledge in order to realise the savings necessary to protect the front-line while still delivering quality services

Read more and book your place soon as space is limited and demand is high.

Master class training days to better use the LGA online improvement tools

esd-toolkit: improving together Local Government Association The Local Government Association provides to its members a wide range of proven and mature online tools, information, services and networks. These assist the local government sector meet the ongoing challenge of better service design around specific local needs with improved evidencing and financial savings.  These tools are included to subscribing members of the esd-toolkit programme within the online suite of tools and resources.

Between January and March 2013, a series of regional master class training days are being run, which will be free to subscribing organisations of esd-toolkit. The aim of these is to instruct local government officers and councillors on the capability and power of some of these tools to improve service delivery for customers and make efficiency savings through better understanding of local demographics, internal processes and costs.

See your services in your tree!!

Service treeVersion 4.0 of the Local Government Service List has now been added to esd-toolkit and appears in any of the 'Tree views'.

Following the recent update to make the Local Government Services List easier to use we

  • Included services that seemed to be missing from the list
  • Updated the service names to remove some of the old "Local Government" terminology and organisational structure
  • Clarified some ambiguous descriptions
  • Made the names more generic
  • Deprecated out of date services and duplicates

How do you know when your time is up?

Hour glass

Do you have a robust and up to date Records Retention Scheme?

If you are even a little concerned that you can’t answer YES to this question then the esd-toolkit Records Retention Project may well be the help you need.

The revised Records Retention Project will enable you to, relatively simply, produce a classification scheme and retention policy specific to your council, working from a template scheme and policy that the project creates.

From DirectGov to GOV.UK, navigation lists, records retention and more...

esd information management... were discussed at esd-toolkit’s Information Management Group meeting of 19 September at the Local Government Association’s offices. See the meeting notes with links to presentations.

Opportunity to influence information standards for education, skills & children’s svcs

ISBThe Information Standards Board (ISB) for Education, Skills and Children’s Services in England (ESCS) is the system-wide authority for all information and data standards. Its mission is to facilitate information sharing across the system; agree information standards to aid front line delivery; improve efficiency, reduce costs and minimise bureaucracy.

There is much potential to promote closer interaction with the work of the ISB with that undertaken on behalf of the local government sector by esd-toolkit and the standards set out in the Local Government Business Model.  The ISB programme team is looking to more stakeholder engagement with representatives from Local Government - find out more about the work, the benefits that will result and how you can get involved.

Free master class training days on the esd-toolkit

Local Government Association esd-toolkit - improving together

The Effective Service Delivery Toolkit is sometimes described as Local Government’s best kept secret. Over a decade of innovation and shared resources by most councils and fire authorities has resulted in a comprehensive set of tried and tested tools, models, case studies and guidance aimed at helping the public sector better understand its business, and compare, share and evidence strategies for making savings, better targeting of services to the right people and performance monitoring. As local government officers come and go, this resource and the skills to make best use of it gets diluted.

We are looking to provide a series of regional master classes - free to subscribing organisations - on various key components of the esd-toolkit to help you better understand the potential of this powerful component of the LGA’s online offer and to then examine where it can be applied to best effect to meet your local business development priorities.

Local and National Government Open Data across Europe - one day mini conference

esd-toolkitOpening Up

esd-toolkit are pleased to announce a new event to take place in Cambridge in September!!

Local and National Government Open Data across Europe - one day mini conference

The practical achievements and challenges

This one day conference is part of EU project "Opening Up" - Opening Up aims to help innovate public services through the use of open data and to encourage smart use of social media. This event will explore the challenges, the practicalities and the successes of Open Data giving practical examples and sessions on how to go about publishing open data.  Speakers and attendees will come from Europe and UK which will allow a fresh approach on Open Data to be explored. The day has an exciting line up of speakers and promises to be a very worthwhile day out.

Date:Wednesday 26th September 2012

Venue:The Upper Hall, (link to campus map)

Jesus College, Jesus Lane, Cambridge, CB5 8BL (Cambridge map and Travel directions)

Are you interested in finding and using information across your organisation?

I know it’s here – somewhere!!

Information explosion

As you know we at esd-toolkit have a strong commitment to keeping the standards in esd-toolkit fit for purpose. We can’t do that without your help and as we have done in previous years, we have an Information Management workgroup dedicated to this task. Its membership is fluid from year to year and the workload on individuals is not onerous.

If you would like to help shape esd-toolkit standards then come along to the next working group meeting.

The date for the next meeting is Wednesday 19th September 2012 at LGA Offices, Smith Sq, London, 10:00 – 15:30.

The meeting will give you an opportunity to understand how other councils and GOV.UK are using the standards. It will steer our priorities for work in the next six months.

LG Inform Prototype New Developments for July 2012

LGA LG Inform 

The Local Government (LG) Inform prototype is a practical response to sector-led improvement.

This online service allows anyone in the sector to access, compare and analyse data, and present their findings.

The prototype service has always been there to test ideas and encourage user feedback. With this in mind we have recently made two changes to the existing on-line tool that we believe will add further value to users

Linking to Directgov: what happens when GOV.UK launches?

Local Directgov

In October, Directgov and Business Link will be replaced by the single domain GOV.UK (external link). If you have deep links to either of these sites, don't panic: you won't need to change them.

Every page on Directgov and Business Link will be redirected to one of the following:

  • The relevant page on GOV.UK, if it exists
  • The relevant deep link on a third-party website if GOV.UK no longer deals with the topic and a third party website completes the journey successfully
  • The national archive version of the page if either of the above aren't possible

Underpinning gov.uk is the Local Government Services List and the Local Government Interaction List. Web teams from every council in England submit the most suitable landing page to surface when a search is performed.

Open Data White Paper gives principles for making public data useful

Open Data White Paper launch with Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office, and Ben Goldacre at PA Consulting offices, London 28th June 2012The Cabinet Office has published a White Paper entitled “Open Public Data - Unleashing the potential” which promotes data as the raw material of social and economic growth.

It lists the principles, drawn up by the Public Sector Transparency Board, for making published data as useful as possible.  It promotes the Five Star Scheme for publishing open data, in which Linked Data is defined as the most useful.

Lists published on the esd-standards pages are all available as Linked Data and link out to relevant external URIs (Uniform Resource Identifiers), such as those published at legislation.gov.uk to which the Powers and Duties List is linked.

The LG inform service goes from strength to strength

LG AssociationLG InformDeveloped with local authority involvement, LG Inform is the recently launched on-line data and benchmarking service developed by the Local Government Association as part of it’s “Taking the Lead” programme.   It builds on the strengths of the esd-toolkit features and maximises the use of the local government information sharing standards - the Local Government Business Model - developed by the sector over the past ten years.

With the prototype LG inform launched in July 2011, we can now provide local authorities and fire and rescue services with access to contextual (e.g. health and demographic data) and performance data covering 850 individual performance measures (or metric-types). A wide variety of important services metrics (e.g. timeliness of care assessments) are offered to authorities enabling local performance to be assessed regionally and nationally across all local authorities.

You can use LG Inform with your esd-toolkit username and password - see the link to the service under the quick links section to the left of the home page screen.

To learn more and to understand the next phases of development - then read on....

The Local Government Services List has undergone a transformation!!


The Local Government Service List is a collection of services that a public sector body in the UK provides to or on behalf of those who live, work and pass through their area. Not all councils perform all services in the list but it gives a common set of actions from which to choose.

The LGSL provides a standard way of referring to each service when communicating within and between organisations. It uses unique numeric identifiers for each service, irrespective of the language and naming conventions that are used by different people and organisations to identify or describe services.

To make the list easier to use we’ve listened to what you've been telling us and with the new services now offered by the Public Sector, those that are no longer carried out and a long awaited change to some service names, we have re-vamped the LGSL.

We've been consulting our editorial team of experts along the way and we really hope it’s much more user friendly.

It's now your opportunity to comment and we’d really like to hear from you.

UK local government and the Digital Agenda For Europe

Norwegian local government article

Here’s the English version of an article written for Norwegian local government people.  It describes UK progress towards eGovernment putting particular emphasis on the role of standards and their role in achieving productivity gains by:

  • Removing duplication within an organisation
  • Rationalising service delivery across local public sector and community organisations (local government, health, fire and rescue, etc)
  • Targeting services at vulnerable groups rather than the population in general

Practical use of lists in local government

What do standards and controlled lists mean to you / your organisation?

esd-standards web pages

esd-toolkit has now published a set of simple case studies gathered from people in Local Authorities like you, showing how they make use of the various standards including the Local Government Service List and the Local Government Navigation List in their web sites and information management systems. Take a look at the case studies they are short and uncomplicated!!

If you have any queries about them or are happy to volunteer to give us details so that we can publish a case study for you, please email support@esd.org.uk

The Local Government Business Model has been well worked by experts but at first glance it does look complicated and if you are not into that sort of thing then the importance could easily pass you by.

So here are a few myth busters and explanations of terms and acronyms:

Do you worry about Data Compliance?

Is your organisation at risk of being fined for a serious breach of the Data Protection Act?

Locked laptop

People continue to expect high standards from public services. Are their expectations different regarding customer service from government to that of the commercial sector?

In reality they are sometimes more demanding of excellence.

Residents get most of their information about their council through the media. This means a local authority has limited influence over how its performance is presented. This clearly affects how residents view local government.

Any personal data that they provide without question to a commercial company such as a supermarket or an on-line retail outlet is often regarded with more suspicion when provided to the public sector and yet our hands are tied in terms of any joined up service provision without the shared use of information about our businesses and our customers. It is a legal requirement under the Data Protection Act for Local Authorities to ensure that all personal information gathered is adequately protected. When data is lost or disclosed in error, resulting in fines from the Information Commissioners Office, public confidence quite rightly diminishes.

Is there anything we can do to minimise the risk?

Welcome to the Knowledge Hub LG Inform knowledge group





Last weekend all the IDeA Community of Practices (CoPs) closed and have been taken over by the Knowledge Hub. This is a much more flexible site that makes it easier to share information between groups and has greater functionality compared to the CoPs. We have started a LG Inform knowledge group on the Knowledge Hub which we are using as a place to share information on subjects such as future plans for LG Inform; help files; metrics and a forums section. We would welcome any members of the esd-tool kit to join this group and learn more about LG Inform and would welcome your comments and queries. Help files for the Knowledge hub can be found in links at the bottom of the site. You can log onto the Knowledge hub using the same log on details as you used for the CoPs.

If you would like anymore information please drop me an e-mail Alexandra.marshall@local.gov.uk


LG Inform 

Consultation on benchmarking residents' perceptions of local government

LGA logo

Feedback from the local government sector has suggested there is demand for benchmarked data on resident satisfaction. For the Local Government Association (LGA) and London Councils, responding to this demand demonstrates that, rather than central government imposing data requirements on the sector, the sector is able to decide for itself which data to collect.

Therefore, the LGA and London Councils have recently published a consultation on a proposed set of resident satisfaction questions. The intention is that these questions will be used on a voluntary basis by authorities in their own local surveys and, providing the methodology meets certain quality criteria, that they could then be used by the sector for benchmarking within LG Inform.

We would encourage you to respond to the consultation to help ensure that the final set of questions and the guidance for how the data should be collected meet the needs of local government overall.

Please visit LG Inform: improving services through information to find out more and to participate in the consultation. The closing date of the consultation is Thursday 19 April.

esd-toolkit and the dawn of a new year


Esd-toolkit subscription renewals for 2012-13

We have reached the end of the 2011-12 financial year which means it Is time to collect esd-toolkit subscription renewals from subscribing organisations.  Remember that a single modest financial contribution provides access for every member of your organisation to the esd-toolkit tools, events, workshops and shared resources.

The rates of subscription remain the same and have been unchanged since 2008 and the programme activities and benefits are summarised in the esd-toolkit publications pages.


Using Open Data in Council websites – that’s ODD

esd-toolkit ODD video

Here’s an open source demonstration application showing how to use esd-toolkit’s open standard lists with open government data to drive websites and portals with reduced maintenance.

The Open Data Demo (ODD) web page illustrates a variety of techniques applied by GOV.UK (see this blog), Directgov and some local authorities to configure websites by referencing the Local Government Service List (LGSL) and Navigation List (LGNL).

The .gov.uk (www.gov.uk) is now live!!!

Gov.uk screen shot

Gov.uk, the test site of the citizen-facing, new UK government website is now live. It is the first phase in Martha Lane Fox's plan to create a simpler, clearer and faster way to access online government information and services. Longer term, .gov.uk is intended to cover the digital estate currently filled by Directgov, Business Link and other gov.uk websites.

Stop press!!! Cabinet Office acknowledges the importance of using controlled lists (LGSL & LGIL) and the role they play in delivering accurate web services!!!


Gov.uk is different from Alpha (www.alpha.gov.uk) in that the Alpha was more about the concept and idea, and trying new, quicker and cheaper ways to develop. The Government Delivery Service team (http://digital.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/) (GDS), have taken the Alpha feedback and used it to drive improvements in .gov.uk.  

A lot of the editorial content and services on .gov.uk will continue to be delivered by departments and agencies who will publish to a shared platform.

Is your organisation in danger of being fined for a breach of the Data Protection Act?

How do you find out?

South Cambridgeshire District CouncilSouth Cambridgeshire District Council, in conjunction with esd-toolkit and MetaCompliance, is hosting a 1 day conference exploring how organisations can navigate and overcome the pitfalls of information governance. The Information Commissioner's Office will provide a different perspective and will explore good practice and common development areas identified through its audit work.

There is no doubt that Information Governance is an issue across the public sector as budget cuts and the resulting upheaval, media scrutiny of public sector data breaches and increasing fines have led to worry and confusion. Bringing together the ICO, and two of the most well respected programmes in the Information Governance arena, this event will help clarify and make better sense of some of the most tricky information governance issues for you.

Making best use of esd-toolkit’s controlled lists

esd information management

Thirteen council, Local Directgov and the LGA were represented at the Information Management meeting of 1 December 2011, which explored how esd-toolkit’s controlled lists are being used and what improvements are needed.

Here are the meeting notes with links to presentations by:

  • Herefordshire County Council and NHS Partnership
  • Brent Council
  • Hampshire
  • Members of the esd-toolkit team
  • LGA

Is there interest in sharing locally collected performance metrics centrally?


A call for your preparation and thinking in advance of the consultation to support a lively and constructive debate over the next few months.


LG Inform prototype powered by esd-toolkit

The Local Government Inform (LG Inform) prototype is a new practical response to the sector’s call for greater freedom to take responsibility for its own regulation and improvement. We will be describing and demonstrating its use at the next esd user event in London. Reserve your place online after login at the esd-toolkit events page.

But we need you advance preparation and early thinking as we begin to consider the best content, strategy and definitions for locally collected perfromance metrics in future years to supplement the nationally collected material already presented to you in LG Inform and the esd-toolkit.

A pdf of this call for help is available here for you to share with friends and colleagues. But read on.....

LG Inform prototype update


The Local Government Inform (LG Inform) prototype is the new practical response to the sector’s call for greater freedom to take responsibility for its own regulation and improvement. This free online service is being commissioned by the Local Government Association, making use of the tools and facilities within the esd-toolkit to allow anyone in the local government sector to access, compare and analyse performance data, compare and add context and present and share their findings. Such intelligence will help councils and fire and rescue authorities make the right decisions about their local areas and the services they provide to their residents.


Read about the latest developments, future plans and how to get involved.

Citizen insight – UK lessons in Europe

Customer Insight video

Some of the best features of the UK esd-toolkit have been distilled into tools and standards for adoption by local government across Europe in the esd-toolkit EU website.

The site provides a broad introduction to citizen insight and service profiling for major European countries, with extra details for parts close to the North Sea. There are two videos which give a concise introduction to citizen insight and the use of standard lists.

esd-toolkit procurement of continuation of services 2012

Notice is hereby given that the Local Government Association (through its trading organisation Local Government Improvement & Development) has begun a procurement process for the continuation of service delivery of the esd-toolkit from 1-Apr-2012.

A notice was placed in the OJEU European Journal during first week November 2011 and a copy of this notice is also available for download on the esd-toolkit.

Expressions of interest are to be provided in the first instance via the completion of a pre-qualification questionnaire which must be submitted to the LGA by 21-Nov-2011.

Users of the esd-toolkit and other interested parties are encouraged to bring this procurement opportunity to the attention of interested suppliers who might have an interest in participating in the selection process. 
 Local Government Association logo

Breaking the Rules - NWEGG 7th Annual Conference

Wednesday, 23 November 2011 from 09:15 to 16:00 Manchester

Using innovation to build a new generation of public services

"All human development, no matter what form it takes, must be outside the rules; otherwise we would never have anything new." - Charles Kettering, Inventor and businessman
  • But are we ready to face the challenges?
  • Are we brave enough to innovate to meet these challenges - and turn them into opportunities?
  • Do we know what innovation looks like?
  • Do we know how to create a climate for innovation both within and between organisations?
NWEGG's 7th Annual Conference aims to help officers and managers understand how they respond to these challenges by enabling their organisation to be more innovative and to gain knowledge of some of the most important current innovations.

Maintaining Directgov “local” links

Local Government logo

Calling all web teams – this is Important Information (Please pass this on if this is not you!!)

Directgov is the UK government's digital service for people in England and Wales. It delivers information and practical advice about public services, bringing them all together in one place. Many of the articles in Directgov have links to specific pages on council websites which are managed through the Local Directgov locator screens.

esd-toolkit launches a new projects site

esd-projects home page

Why waste time and effort when other projects people have applied might help you?

The new improved esd-toolkit projects database incorporates projects from esd-toolkit, solutions4inclusion and the Product Catalogue so there's lots to interest you on a range of subjects and themes.

We still have a few FREE places on the South West Circles of Need workshops

Silhouette standing on targetWould you or your colleagues be interested?  Pass this on!  

The Circles of Need improvement framework workshops use esd-toolkit to build a transformation programme based around Families in Poverty but can be used to target help to any area where it is most needed.  

The series of three, free workshops are being run as a joint esd-toolkit, Aperia Government Services and European Commission initiative. 

The changing face of UK society updated

Experian A world of insightesd-toolkit is pleased to announce that the annual update showing the accumulated changes to Experian’s Mosaic UK is now available through esd-toolkit. If you have an Experian Mosaic licence you will be able to access your data down to the level of your licence; either post code or household. Without a licence (so long as your council is subscribed to esd-toolkit) you can access data to ward level which will still help you understand your local demographics but will not allow you to do the detailed analysis that you can do with a licence. If you are still using Mosaic 2003 please note that this has now been superseded by this latest update and will no longer be available.

European Conference on Innovation for Digital Inclusion

Gdansk, Poland

esd-toolkit's involvement in the European project CEMSDI, a project promoting digital inclusion across Europe, has led to our users being invited to The European Conference on Innovation for Digital Inclusion which is taking place between 5th and 7th October 2011 in Gdansk, Poland. We understand funds are limited but if you are able to combine a couple of days sightseeing with attending the conference, we are sure it will prove to be an interesting trip.

The Conference, organized within the framework of the official programme of the Polish Presidency of the European Union, is meant to provide:

  • an overview of the most innovative and effective eInclusion initiatives in the EU
  • in a wider context, to facilitate a discussion on the importance of eInclusion policy in the delivery of the Digital Agenda for Europe

esd-standards List and related information – What’s important to you?

LGSL services logo
esd-toolkit's Information Management working group is defining its priorities for improving esd's controlled lists and associated online information and tools over the next 6 months.

Popular requests are listed in this forum post. Please comment in the forum if you have particular needs and/or you can help improving the standards.

esd-toolkit in the spotlight - back on tour!

esd-toolkit in the spotlightThere’s a lot going on at esd-toolkit this year now that the holiday season is nearly over.

The next release of LGSL is due on 30 September so if you want anything changed please get your submissions to standards@esd-toolkit.org or post them on the Information Management, LGBM and lists forum.

Toolkit Local Community meetings (TLCs) (NO CHARGE FOR ATTENDANCE!) will be coming to you in your region and will help you use esd-toolkit to identify those who make the most demands on your limited resources and have a high impact upon your budget so that you can design, target and cost your service provision.

Local Government’s role in Public Health

Mosaic of images about healthAs part of the Government’s NHS Reforms policies, top tier local authorities will take on a major responsibility for public health from April 2013.

Public Health is concerned with helping people live better and for longer.  It is not just about vaccinations and clean water.  It pervades every part of a local authority’s work from developing green spaces for good mental health to running adequate rural transport services to allow people to live active lives.

esd-toolkit News Update

esd-toolkit Local Government logoIt may have been quiet for a while from us but here at esd-toolkit we have been busy planning a programme of support, functionality and a new series of TLCs that will be announced shortly.  We are working closely with the LG Group to make the most of your subscriptions this year.

Councillor David Parsons CB, current Chairman of LG Group Improvement Programme Board recently sent an update to all Council leaders so here is a version that keeps our esd-toolkit users up to date with what’s going on.

LG Inform and esd-toolkit for service improvement

LG InformThe Local Government Group (LGG) launched LG Inform at the LGG Conference in Birmingham from 28 to 30 June.  LG Inform, esd-toolkit and the Knowledge Hub can be used separately or together to help your council understand its areas and improve services.  This YouTube video describes the three online tools.  The lead sponsor for this initiative is George Garlick, the Chief Executive of Durham Council.  He recently gave a short explanation of his vision for the future in this area.

Have I Got News For You?

Have I Got News For You   Or Have you got news for us?   

esd-toolkit would like to hear from anyone who has used esd-toolkit standards, tools or functionality to support everyday work or projects.  Whether it is innovative, creative or just plain every day we would like to share your story with our subscribers.  So c’mon get writing!

Put hard figures to your business case

Benefits List tree view

As part of the CEMSDI project, esd-toolkit has now published Economic costs and benefits information which puts monetary values to more than 60 different issues that a public sector organisation might wish to use in assessing the business case for a service.

The costs and benefits have been researched from within the public domain, to support change initiatives and projects in building the business case to proceed. Such example costs may be used to help justify innovative new ways of working, especially with partners, where the returns on investment are spread across organisations or even relative to society as a whole. Often such costs or benefits are not immediately obvious and this initial list aims to provide a starting point for evidence that might just help swing the decision to go-ahead for your project.

LG Group annual conference and exhibition 2011

Localism Works Conference logoLocal Government Group logo

July 2011 sees us at the centre of a fundamental rethinking of the way local government works. The Government's flagship Localism Bill has set out new leadership roles and a vision of a state in which communities, charities and businesses have increased powers in shaping the way their places develop and how their services are delivered. The Big Society will remain a phrase crucial to all discussions about the future of public services, a controversial ideology that inspires excitement and worry in equal measure. And alongside these wide-ranging reforms, councils will be dealing with an exceptionally tough financial settlement which is already affecting the way they serve their communities. The results of tough budgeting decisions are already becoming apparent.

New series of workshops: build a local transformation programme for your Council

Circles of need

New series of training workshops using Circles of Need® improvement framework and complementary esd-toolkit standards and functionality will help you build a local transformation programme for your 'place'.
You can book now!!

These interactive workshops are free to subscribing authorities. We recommend a senior person attend at least workship one to gain an overview and an officer attend all three. It is possible to split this with one attending workshop 1 and the other attending workshops 2 and 3. The  events are to be held in London, Birmingham and Manchester focussing on a particular customer issue. The methodology can then be applied to any customer issue in your organisation. The issue that have been chosen to use as examples for the training were voted for by over 90 LAs who expressed an initial interest;

North Lincolnshire Council exploits the potential of esd-toolkit’s controlled lists

North Lincolnshire CouncilTraffic lights at junction

North Lincolnshire Council is aiming to get the best out of esd-toolkit by using the Controlled Lists to help address a number of issues.

This article explains briefly how the Highways and Planning service has focussed on using the Local Government Service List (LGSL) to help with decisions on locally managed services and records retention.

Where can I get help?

esd-toolkit  - Training Courses – might just be the answer!

There are many tools and a great deal of functionality in esd-toolkit that can support you during these challenging times and it is well documented that the value far outweighs your subscription. To get the most from esd-toolkit, have you considered training? As part of the CEMSDI project, we offer a range of highly popular courses all provided by senior esd-suppliers practitioners to help you get up and running charged at rates that are usually much lower than you would find with other external training providers:

Please read on to find out more about what is on offer!

Service transformation - the elephant in your room?

Despite the fact that there is widespread appetite for innovation in front line services there are significant barriers to this in the form of organizational and management capacity in addition to a widespread lack of knowledge and skills in delivering change projects in local public services. This is one of the observations of a hard hitting, end of project report by the Digital Innovation Team which was set up in 2006 in response to the report "Inclusion through innovation".

Elephant in the room True service transformation has often been the elephant in the room, hard to miss, whispered about but never confronted. The emergent decentralizing policies and accompanying budget cuts are confronting local authorities with a new set of challenges and structural changes on an unprecedented scale, if ever there was a time for innovation in service delivery it is now.

How to save money by linking ABC costing and Customer Profiling

ABC costing
To kick start the new financial year there is a case study presentation from David Lindill at East Herts District Council explaining how by using ABC Costing and Customer Profiling in tandem they made savings and helped in running the service more efficiently.

Two free registrations at Major Cities IT Group Conference

esd-toolkit has secured two free registrations to the Major Cities of Europe conference in Prato Italy from 23 to 25 May.  These are available on a first come first served basis to councils subscribing to esd-toolkit by contacting support@esd.org.uk.

Managing the council's online presence

Supported by the esd-toolkit community

Barnsley councilThe web team here in Barnsley, working with Corporate Communications, were tasked with providing a website for the 21st Century Council, a website that would be more visually attractive, easier to search and up to date. We looked for a good place to start where we could rely on tried and tested methods. esd-toolkit looked like a pretty good all round solution with a framework of standards that we could work to. This is a quick reference guide to what we did.

esd-toolkit provides a basket of local authority services that are delivered nationally and from the basket, we select the ones that we deliver, i.e. those that are applicable to us.

For each service, esd-toolkit identifies the associated interactions that can be carried out against them, for example, applying for a service, paying for a service, information provision, etc.

For each applicable service, we create a webpage in our web content management system to satisfy the “information provision” interaction. For the incoming interactions, i.e. taking a payment or an application, we create an electronic form and make a relationship back to the webpage. As we move more towards a transactional website, our plans include that the incoming interactions will also populate the Customer Relationship Management System (CRMS) to enable on-line and mediated tracking of service request.

DCLG recommends you to look at esd-toolkit resources

Communities and Local Government

The latest edition of the DCLG Newsletter to Chief Executives includes a recommendation to look at (and use, of course) some of the resources available from esd-toolkit.

Closing with the words 'Please do take a look', the short briefing commends the results of the 5-year DCLG Digital Inclusion programme on how Information and Communications Technologies can be used to improve the lives and life chances of citizens and improve the way services are delivered.

These resources can be found by clicking on this link.

Cemsdi logo

Find photos by their IPSV subject references

Fotolibra LogoFotoLibra, who buy and sell image rights, have indexed their photos against the Integrated Public Sector Vocabulary (IPSV). So you can now find images for a large number of IPSV subjects.

Using improvement tools and techniques to provide better services to 'high cost' groups

Person in target

Your Invitation To Participate In High Level Workshops

Economically, the public sector is no longer in a position to provide blanket services to service users in a traditional way and Local Authorities have been asking for support in making the right decisions to improve cross-council services with limited budgets, whilst still protecting the vulnerable.

A series of three workshops is being organised by esd-toolkit in conjunction with Aperia Government Services to provide you with an implementation plan that will meet your organisation’s specific strategic objectives within the framework of the Local Government Business Model using the tools and functionality in esd-toolkit. The workshops will involve working with your peers in local government and with specialists to establish the role that Circles of Need®, customer profiling and innovation techniques have in servicing vulnerable groups more productively.

By using these tried and tested methods which focus on a particular need such as vulnerable older people or worklessness, you can re-engineer the way in which you approach service delivery, based upon real evidence and a package of support.

We can show you ways of identifying and tackling need within your customer base as well as developing methods for targeting those groups of people in order to improve your service provision yet still achieve real efficiency savings, across one or multiple services. If you’re interested, we would like your feedback on which customer segment/s you would like to focus on in the workshops.

There is no charge for attendance at the workshops, which will be held in one or more UK regions, dependent on demand.

Organisation Reconstruction Framework

Expressions of interest welcomed for 2011-12

Box frame

esd-toolkit is looking to work with its members to firstly develop and pilot an 'Organisational Reconstruction Framework' in 2011/12. We are using this term to describe an approach to looking ‘horizontally’ across the organisation to understand the duplication and fragmentation that exists in many councils. Implicit in this kind of review is that there will be some reorganisation of the Council and a number of 'implementation' projects will be initiated.

The business case for undertaking 'across council' reviews is compelling in that Councils' can no longer afford to make relatively small savings by undertaking incremental or silo service reviews. They should be looking broader e.g. the council as a whole or alternatively themed reviews in major areas of spend such as Procurement, Access to Services, Transactional Services, Children's Services etc. Another application would be in assessing the resource implications of shared service projects. Similar frameworks delivered by private sector consultancies have claimed multi-million £ efficiencies. esd-toolkit has an existing body of organisational standards that may be used to help pull the framework together.

Linked Data – what is it and why is it important for Open Government

The Openness of Govenment: share, collaborate, change, transparency, open data

The European Journal of ePractice 12th edition focuses on "The Openness of Government" with an editorial by Paul Waller of the Delivery Innovation Team at the City of London. This edition features an article on Open Linked Data to Inform Policy and Improve Services by Mike Thacker who works on esd-standards and parallel standards in other EU countries.

Local Government innovation conference and exhibition

Delivering public services in challenging times

Leeds 22 March 2011

Local Government Group

As the spending cuts bite, making sure that performance is on track is more important than ever. The LG Group is launching an approach to self-regulation for local government to help local authorities strengthen their accountability and revolutionise the way they evaluate and improve services.

LGG's offer is designed to help authorities capitalise on the LG Group's successful campaign for the burden of inspection to be drastically reduced.  You are invited to a one day conference for discussion, debate, demonstration and exhibits that support this vision.  This will take place on 22-Mar-2011 at the Leeds Hilton Hotel.

Local Government Group Inform: improving services through information

Local Government Group

The Local Government Group (LG Group) is developing a new, free, voluntary service to help authorities understand their performance, called Local Government Group Inform (LG Inform). Its rollout and use will start to gain momentum during 2011.

LG Inform is an online service that will allow councils to access and compare key data to help build the evidence needed to make informed decisions, reduce costs and improve services.

The need for the LG Inform service is born from the self regulation and improvement programme, Taking the Lead, and the Local Productivity programme.

Have you looked at our brilliant new online Social and Economic Business Case Tool yet?

Man carrying lightbulbThis tool has been developed as part of the CEMSDI project. It may be used to develop a business case for any type of project, but it is specifically designed to deal with projects relating to social inclusion, particularly on helping disadvantaged people and communities, and builds in a number of features that help to construct business cases for such projects.

It can be accessed directly from the esd-toolkit www.esd.org.uk “tools” menu.  From here you can take the option of going directly to the login page or otherwise landing on the Business Case Introduction page. Here you can find out more about the tool and use the side links to look-up 16 case studies (using the spreadsheet version), facilitators guides, evaluation reports and research studies.

What is the esd-suppliers scheme?

Budgets are tight and skills gaps need to be filled but help is at hand. As part of the CEMSDI programme, esd-suppliers has been set up to give organisations subscribing to esd-toolkit the opportunity to employ experienced consultants at a standardised discounted daily rate.

Your context – the changing political and financial climate for local authorities.

Our role – esd-toolkit can support public sector organisations and has grown to keep pace with:

  • the impact of reduced budgets
  • the need to protect the vulnerable as services are rationalised
  • the challenges of new policy on transparency and the Big Society

We also know it can be difficult to identify where to start with esd-toolkit because we offer so much. That’s where the esd-suppliers scheme can help.

esd-suppliers identifies specially trained member advisors with a good overall knowledge of esd-toolkit and expertise in one particular field.

East of England TLC – see what you missed!

Cambridge sign

Thanks must go to South Cambridgeshire District Council for welcoming delegates to the latest East of England TLC which took place on Thursday 10 February. Stephen Horner welcomed everyone to the event and encouraged delegates to introduce themselves to someone they did not know and to identify what they hoped to gain from the day. Fortunately, the group was very forthcoming and identified the following areas they wanted more awareness of:

  • esd toolkit overall
  • activity based costing
  • transformation tools
  • performance and benchmarking
  • customer access channels

Tim Adams, the esd toolkit Programme Manager, introduced a presentation on Data Transparency, one aim of which is to deliver better value for money in public spending by making information open for public access. All Councils are charged with publishing all expenditure over £500 via 'open' and 'linked data' techniques. An LG guide is available to help Councils understand what data to publish and how to do so, and the online submissions option on the esd toolkit website provides comprehensive information.

Tim's presentation on data transparency can be found here

Service profiles for by service function – Invitation To Quote

esd-toolkit’s technical partner Porism Limited, which is a partner in the EU North Sea Region Smart Cities Project has issued an invitation to quote for some work which aims to help segment users for different groups of service, as defined by the Functions List and introduce the concept of customer profiling, as employed by esd-toolkit in the UK, to municipalities across Europe.

Outputs from the work will be available to local authorities in the UK and other member countries through the esd-toolkit pages.

Details of the invitation to quote can be found here.

Civil-servant Empowerment for Multi Media Service Delivery ICT-enabled (CEMSDI)

esd-toolkit is running the pilot training programme for a Pan European project backed by the European Commission, CEMSDI.(Civil Servants' Empowerment for Multimedia Service Delivery ICT-enabled)  The project is concerned with training Local Authority personnel in order to assist them in making the correct business investment decisions to reap longer term benefits.  The training will assist a Local Authority to look at innovative solutions both to cut costs and also to provide a social return on investment

Training for Local Authorities will be available from May to November this year.  

esd-toolkit is on the ball!


esd-toolkit has a busy series of Toolkit Local Community Meetings (TLCs) and Regional Roadshows lined up for the coming weeks; the team definitely need to be on the ball especially at the home of Newcastle United and Preston North End FC!!

Places are still available so find out more about the events in your area and book your FREE place, by clicking on the links below:

Find out more about the TLC & Roadshow events by reading the full article….

New agenda, new challenges, new budget, new priorities – or more of the same but cheaper?

Local Government GroupThe Local Government Group is developing its business plan for 2011-12. The aims are to continue to work with and on behalf of the sector in promoting, supporting and improving local government.

LGG’s offer to councils is “designed to help them thrive and adapt to the changes and, where possible, improve the quality of life for local residents”. To do this we have committed to help councils achieve six outcomes:

  • Local budgets & accountability
  • Improved local productivity
  • Strong local economies
  • Improved local performance and VfM
  • Transformed workforce
  • Strong political leadership

Magnifying textesd-toolkit has identified some of its services that support local authorities in many of the LGG prioritised areas. For example; five of the work streams will be supported using the esd-toolkit features as identified below.  There are others, this is an abbreviated list, of course, with a few hyperlinks to relevant pages.

Spring Online 2011 - Engaging the Ageing Society in Digital Technology

Two piece jigsaw with figuresSpring Online with Silver Surfers’ Day (16-20 May 2011) is a national campaign promoting the use of digital technology to older people. Local authorities are asked to encourage their teams, libraries, schools, community centres and other local venues to throw open their doors and run digital awareness events to help more people get online

Do you understand the cost of delivering your services?

Two piece jigsaw with figures

Can you identify where there is waste?

Can you see which activities are repeated elsewhere and could be removed?

Can you model the cost of alternative delivery methods effectively?

As part of the CEMSDI project, esd-toolkit offers an online version of its Service Cost Calculator to help subscribers with their costing needs.

The online Service Cost Calculator applies Activity Based Costing (ABC) techniques and uses our 'Cost Architecture' framework to provide a standards-based approach for applying ABC in Local Government and partner organisations.

The online service cost calculator is free to subscribing councils and replaces the spreadsheet version of the calculator.

The SW TLC went back to school!

The SW TLC went back to school... to find out about what’s happening and to share ideas and learning...

Queens College Conference CentreQueens College Conference Centre, Taunton was a lovely venue for the day and truly set the scene for an enlightening day.

It was great to see so many old friends and to welcome two new faces – Eileen Pinhorne from Poole and Louise Johnson from Bournemouth.  We hope we did not throw you in at the deep end!

Although it was a very informal occasion – we all realised that these are unsettling times and there are some hard and very bitter pills to swallow in terms of the challenges we face with the ‘localism’ agenda and the severe cut backs.  There is also great concern as to how we can continue to protect our vulnerable communities and ensure they ‘do not fall through the net’ into further difficulties.  Hopefully, we can work together to support each other improve services,  rather than re-inventing the wheel.

Coming to a venue near you in the next few weeks

Woman spinning platesesd-toolkit has a busy series of events lined up in the coming weeks; with two Toolkit Local Community Meetings (TLCs), three Regional Roadshows and a combined TLC and Roadshow in Scotland. The team are definitely going to be kept on their toes!

To find out more about the events in your area and book your FREE place, click on the links below:

East England TLC – South Cambridgeshire District Council on Thursday, 10th February
Northern Roadshow – St James Park (NUFC), Newcastle on Wednesday 2nd March
Southern Roadshow – Coin Street Neighbourhood Centre, London on Wednesday, 9 March
North West TLC – Preston North End FC, Preston on Wednesday 16th March
Scottish Combined Roadshow and TLC   - The Teachers Building, Glasgow on Thursday 17 March
Midlands Roadshow – Conference Aston, Birmingham on Wednesday 23 March

Find out more about the events by reading the full article….

What is a billion?

GoldEconomists, bankers and politicians use the word “billion” so many times and so casually we become immune as to its real significance.

I started to think about this more carefully and thought it would be good to see what a billion truly means and even what it looks like.  I did some research and hope this will help get a true perspective on the actual figure of one billion so that we can get to grips with the height of the wall that Local Government has to scale. 

A billion equals a thousand million.

  • A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
  • A billion minutes ago the Roman Emperor Octavian (Augustus) died and was succeeded by Tiberius
  • A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
  • A billion days ago no-one walked on the earth on two feet.
  • A billion pounds ago was only 13 hours and 12 minutes, at the current rate of government spend. 

Don’t miss out - book your place NOW! You are invited to a FREE workshop!

South West* Toolkit Local Community Meeting

Weds 26th January, Queens College, Taunton Deane

Subscribed and registered users of esd-toolkit could be taking advantage of many free tools available online, helping you improve service delivery and achieve real savings!

Come to our next South West TLC to find out more!
*Agenda will reflect South West region – but all regions are welcome to attend!!

Spread the word. If you know of someone in your Local Authority who is not yet registered to esd toolkit and may like to register or attend a TLC then please forward this email on to them! Attending TLC meetings provides an excellent opportunity to network with other users in your region and to raise issues of interest or concern regarding local government challenges.

Book your free place now! The agenda is available to download here, highlights for the day include:

  • A practical demonstration of esd-toolkit functionality to help you use the tools that will support efficiencies.
  • A presentation on the South West Grid for Learning’s Online School Admissions Project and overview of Business Case Tool
  • Updates; from the LDG.
  • New set of free tools from esd-toolkit! - Many new practical tools have been introduced into esd-toolkit. Developed by local authorities, national programmes and beacon councils to support public service deliverers - all are grounded in practice as well as theory – and all are supported by practical case studies and guidance. The tools provide a logical partnership approach to developing a local response both to the new national 'Localism and Decentralisation' agenda and also to local agendas, with a specific focus on meeting local area priorities. The effective service delivery toolkit will support improvements to the economic and social well-being of local communities through service transformation and innovation.

Make it happen with esd-toolkit

View this short video to hear about some of the latest tools to help you meet the challenge you face in doing more with less.

Video on the advantages of using esd-toolkit to help with local government work.

Localism – two ways that esd-toolkit can help you

Social and Economic Business Case Tool and Localism Agenda
DiagramThe esd-toolkit Social and Economic Business Case Tool helps produce a concise case to inform the initial decision about a project — to answer “is this worth doing?” — and provide the business justification for doing it.
Cost Architecture ABC method and the Localism Agenda
BudgetThe Cost Architecture framework with its new on-line service cost calculator has been specifically and solely designed to provide managers with timely, robust cost-behaviour information on their services and to help them make better decisions. It will help you gain an understanding of the ‘true’ cost of delivering your services; identify where there is waste and effectively model the cost of alternative delivery methods

Scottish Navigation List Review

esd-toolkit in Scotland

As the first generation of content managed council websites come to the end of their shelf life, many Scottish councils have found themselves at the same stage of developing new sites on newly tendered systems.

Local by Social Report now published

Thanks to over 1100 of you who responded to our invitation we now have a very interesting draft report for you to download. Also our particular thanks go two LGA colleagues, Ben Proctor who wrote it all up for us and Charlotte Hayes for getting it live on site.

This link will take you to a consultation draft of the Local by Social conference report. Not only is it a themed reflection of the conference, but it’s also an excellent resource full of your links and tips to social resources on the web.

The consultation on the draft report will be open for your comments, corrections and amendments until 10 January.


Looking forward to 2011...

esd-toolkit needs you 

Well, are you?

In 2010 we brought you:

For 2011 we’d like to know what you think, so we have 6 key questions for you to answer.

Consultation on salaries disclosure and publishing spend December 2010

 Following on from recent consultation, the Local Government Group Data and Transparency Team and key partners have further developed the original draft set of practitioners guides on publishing spend and salaries disclosure.

We would like to thank all who made a contribution to the consultation and the LG Group consultation response can be found here:

The updated version of the practitioners guides are now available here:

Within the practitioners guide on spend the template has been modified to take into account the following changes:

  • CiPFA BVACOP has been replaced with the Service Reporting Code of Practice (SeRCOP) which comes into affect next year. The Code has also been converted into a controlled list
  • The terminology of fields has been aligned to the data.gov payment ontology

Mapping services – where do your customers live?

Service profiles pie chart

Do you have a licence for demographic data for your council (e.g. Mosaic)? If so you will probably know that, for three years now, you have been able to upload service transactions to see a profile of customers for a service (just like in this image) – a really useful feature we hear.

As you know, esd-toolkit doesn’t stand still and now a new feature allows you to see a map of where actual service users live. This means you can identify the geographical spread of service use - not by demographic profile (yet) so you can do this even without a Mosaic licence.

Read on to find out more about this new and valuable service from esd-toolkit and an example of where it has been used.

Cancelled: Yorkshire And Humberside Regional Toolkit Local Community Meeting

The Yorkshire and Humberside TLC has been cancelled due to the unpredictable weather conditions. Please check our events page for up to date information on future events.

Wednesday 8th December in Leeds

Brain emitting lightning towards people

Often called the collective brain, esd-toolkit shares expertise at a national level to improve local services and support public sector organisations in making efficiency savings during these challenging times.

Come and see how at the Yorkshire and Humberside Regional Toolkit Local Community Meeting - Wednesday 8th December in Leeds.

This is a free Training Workshop and all regions are welcome!!

So, if your training budgets have been slashed and you are no longer able to fund attendances at conferences don’t slip behind with what’s on the radar.

Our TLCs (Toolkit Local Communities) are designed around what you tell us is important. Attending one of these events can keep you up with what’s going on without costing an arm and a leg........because they are free!!!

Book your free place now to avoid disappointment! The Yorkshire and Humberside TLC is scheduled for Wednesday 8th December 2010, at Cloth Hall, Leeds. Delegates from other regions are very welcome.

Agenda available here

Midlands Innovation Roadshow – Report


Delegates who attended the Midlands Innovation Roadshow event in Peterborough recently were in for a treat with a range of innovative tools and services on show.  Many were completely new to esd toolkit so the new concept of offering 'cafe table' sessions, where delegates could circulate and spend time at a short taster went down well.  These taster sessions and the full workshops that followed covered:

  • Customer Insight and Locality Intelligence
  • ABC/Cost Calculator
  • Business Case Tool
  • Innovation Process
  • Open and Linked Data
  • esd toolkit’s other practical tools

Read on to find out about these workshops and download the presentations.

South East and London TLC report

Broken eggWhat a buzz there was at the South East and London TLC at the Westminster Archives last Wednesday, we certainly weren’t treading on eggshells!

Despite the impending gloom of the budget hanging in the air people really made the most of the networking opportunities to seek out help from each other.

Sheila Apicella started the day with a presentation on the Local Government Business Model interspersed with an enlightening quiz. Attendees participated enthusiastically, exploring concepts and functionality in esd-toolkit indicative of how the local Government Business Model gives a framework on which to base efficient services. Sophie Tarnoy, a new member of the esd-toolkit team working on the European projects, demonstrated the community maps showing the different circumstances your citizens’ display within your area, such as access to faster broadband, lone parent families and unemployment etc.

NWeGG, 6th Annual Conference, Manchester – Breakthrough Services in Local Governments

Put 1st December 2010 in your calendar for this latest NWeGG event.

As the public sector responds to increasing austerity measures and gears up for the changes that the Big Society agenda will demand, local public service providers are in a position to fundamentally rethink service delivery, consider radical new delivery models and re-cast the nature of demand for services. However, with limited resources available it is more important than ever to avoid reinventing the wheel and to understand the implications of national initiatives.

esd-toolkit at the Local by Social online conference 3-9 Nov

Local by Social

esd-toolkit is presenting at the Local by Social online conference run by the Knowledge Hub at Local Government Improvement and Development, which will take place between Weds 3rd to Tues 9th November 2010.

As councils continue to use the power of the internet to improve engagement with citizens, they are also increasingly subject to growing public scrutiny. The Local by Social online conference will bring together a range of experts from the public and private sectors to lead discussions in three areas

  • Using social media to improve engagement between councils and citizens
  • Practitioners: creating and sharing knowledge online
  • Exploring Open data for improvement and innovation

esd-toolkit’s Mike Thacker will be hosting a session on ‘linking up open data’ on Tuesday 9th November

Follow this link to register or sign in to the Local by Social community of practice, access the full agenda and find out how to take part. Both registration and the conference are free

A simple way to publish spending information as open Linked Data

esd-toolkit now has open data pages where councils can upload and everyone can view payments data that accords with LG Group guidance.  The upload tool lets councils convert from simple spreadsheet format to Linked Data, so that it can be linked to information published in the same way by data.gov.uk, ordnance survey, CIPFA  and esd-standards and others.
The LG group has produced a Spending Guide in partnership with socitm, LeGSBCIPFA and CLG.  When logged in to esd-toolkit, you can upload a spreadsheet of payments that has some or all of the columns described in Appendix A: Spending data template of the guide.

Spending Review and Emergency Budget 2010 – some questions for you

HM Treasury Spending Review 2010The devil is often in the detail but at least we now have the news we’ve been anticipating.

Councils now face extremely tough choices about which services they can keep on providing and which they can’t (esd-toolkit’s Powers & Duties might help decide). The cuts are front-loaded and are likely to lead to cuts at the front line.

Councils will do all they can to minimise the effect of these cuts to customers and staff, and will build on their record of delivering new and better ways of doing things in order to keep public services running in these challenging times.

So, rather than the usual news item that tries to summarise the announcements (there are plenty of these to be found), how about some questions for you? Esd-toolkit has come up with a short list from the announcements and invites readers to respond via this forum.

Help is at hand when you need it - through esd-suppliers

esd-toolkit now brings together a host of tools and standards that apply at different stages of the improvement process, as described in our overview pages. Tools have previously been supported by disparate experts working privately and through different government projects. These experts are now being matched with the specific needs of local authorities via a re-energised esd-suppliers scheme.

esd-suppliers identifies people with a good overall knowledge of esd-toolkit and expertise in one particular field, such as: customer insight, information management, introducing innovation, activity based costing, evaluating a business case.

If you wish to offer your expertise via the scheme, see the esd-suppliers pages. If your local authority needs help from a supplier, e-mail support@esd.org.uk.

Achieving More with Less – FREE Regional Innovation Roadshows

Effective Service Delivery Toolkit

Right now - the public sector has to challenge business as usual and develop smarter business models while facing an ever-increasing demand on front-line services

For the first time and In one place - esd-toolkit features a new suite of integrated tools and guidance to support the public sector 'Achieve More with Less'

The Effective Service Delivery Toolkit (esd-toolkit) has expanded its offer significantly over the past year and now includes a comprehensive set of tools, models, case studies, worked examples and guidance which have been developed by local authorities, national programmes and beacon councils to support public service deliverers. All are grounded in practice as well as theory. esd-toolkit is based on the Local Government Business Model - a standards framework that describes a 360 degree view of councils’ operations to support easy sharing, trend analyses and performance contextualisation and comparison.

LGA Group Transparency Programme: "Sharing Open Data Assets"

Local Government Group


The government has pledged greater transparency across government by publishing data to create stronger public sector accountability to citizens.

The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government wrote to local authorities in June 2010 committing them to publishing items of spending over £500 including tenders, contracts and actual payments by January 2011. Government has also committed to publishing certain information on salaries by this date.

As many councils already publish considerable data the challenge now is to be systematic about this, and to adopt some basic digital approaches in making data public to maximise everyone’s ability to benefit.

LG Group Transparency Programme

In support of Local Government’s improvement programmes, this LGA Group programme aims to:

  • create awareness of the importance of the Transparency agenda,
  • promote the wider benefits of open and linked data
  • generate new standards and promote the use of suitable existing standards to facilitate data sharing and
  • build Local Governments capacity and capability to promote the publishing of Linked Data in open formats on key LA data sets.

Update to Mosaic Public Sector data in esd-toolkit


esd-toolkit is pleased to announce that Experian’s Mosaic Public Sector (MPS) segmentation introduced in 2009 is available through the esd-toolkit, updated for 2010.

Replacing the 2003 segmentation with changes to the groups and types, MPS has been developed specifically with the Public Sector in mind and as such is unique in its make-up.  If you already hold a Household or Post Code licence then just get in touch with your Experian account manager to ask to be changed over.  Ward level data is still available for subscribers for free and non licence holders will see the new groups and types represented at Ward level.

The new version of Mosaic segments the population to best fit the current make-up of people in the UK and is refreshed twice a year using more than 440 data elements in classifying all UK residents into 69 types and 15 groups.

New tools for innovation and helping the vulnerable

New from esd-toolkit – where else can you find all these excellent resources in one easily accessible place?

Effective Service Delivery Toolkit

esd-toolkit now features new tools to support a structured approach to service innovation directly affecting the needs of the most vulnerable citizens and making services to them more effective.

The Effective Service Delivery Toolkit includes a comprehensive set of tools, models, case studies, worked examples and guidance which have been developed by local authorities, national programmes and beacon councils to support public service deliverers.  All are grounded in practice as well as theory.

The tools provide a logical approach to delivering ‘more with less’ - supporting improved productivity, delivering value for money, targeting citizens who are socially excluded and protecting vulnerable communities.  The toolkit supports a focus on innovation and re-modelling of service delivery using technology as a stimulus for change. It helps challenge ‘business as usual’ so as to develop effective and sustainable solutions.

The Innovation Process Map, the suite of tools and resources should be used to identify priorities for improvement, inform the research process, evaluate options, develop robust business cases and help ensure future project management success.

esd-toolkit contributes expertise to European project

Parasol on beach

It might be the holiday season but esd-toolkit is not on vacation. Instead the team has been working hard to bring you the first European Conference on customer profiling and service lists.

With a growing audience both in the UK and abroad, esd-toolkit’s reputation for customer profiling and its use of standards is escalating.

This free one day event takes place in Cambridge on Thursday 21 October 2010.

New Open Government Licence announced

The government recently announced a new open government license (OGL) which will regulate the free reuse of open public data.

The open government license will make it easier to reuse the data in machine readable form simply by referring to the licensing terms when publishing or reusing the data. The license also states conditions and limitations for reuse in a short and simple way which is easy to understand. Signing up to the license will place the data into the open data domain which can then be further exploited to add value in customer or business applications and to add accountability and transparency to the services the public sector provides.

Managing information well, saving money and avoiding fines

Bolton councilBolton Council hosted the last esd-toolkit Information Management event which entitled “Implementing an Information Management Strategy based on standard lists to improve the efficiency of records handling”.  esd- toolkit thanks all who contributed to the meeting and apologises to those on the waiting list whom we couldn’t accommodate as the meeting was so popular.
See the meeting notes for more information.

Achieving More with Less – innovation roadshows

Your invitation to a series of free regional Innovation Roadshows – exploring and creating innovative ideas and turning them into good business.


Can Local Authorities continue to deliver services to our most vulnerable communities?
Can we deliver efficiencies and stop the social gap widening?
Can we afford to make the wrong savings?

In these days of tightening budgets can we afford to:

  • keep a person off drugs - to save £50,000 per year of unnecessary public costs?
  • fail to support our aging population proactively? A spell in A&E costs about £30,000
  • have people living on benefits? A lifetime of unemployment costs £250,000
  • allow a third of the children in London to grow up in workless households?
  • allow our 18–24 year olds to feel disengaged? Youth crime costs the taxpayer £1bn each year1pay £40,000 to keep an offender in jail for a year

The ever-increasing demand on frontline services and the large spend on vulnerable communities is an escalating challenge for public service providers, but it also provides the greatest opportunity for significant efficiency gains. We must look to effective and efficient alternatives to ‘business as usual’ – change may not be enough, Local Authorities need to be innovative.

How do we ensure social and financial return on investment whilst protecting services to our vulnerable groups? Through the use of robust intelligence (locality, customer and organisational), evaluation of options and the building of robust business cases to justify the cost of new delivery models.

esd-toolkit will be running a series of Achieving More with Less....Innovation Roadshows across all regions from November onwards, which will be open and free to all Local Authorities and their strategic partners.

Save the date - the first four roadshows will be held on:

  • Midlands Roadshow - 3 November
  • Northern Roadshow - 24 November
  • Southern Roadshow - 1 December
  • Scottish Roadshow - 14 December

Dates of regional innovation roadshows in 2011 to be announced

'See IT in action - Efficient Services, Improved Lives'

Office workersWednesday 6th October 2010 • 9.00am to 4.00pm • Rich Mix, London E1

Last few places left – book now

‘See IT in Action’ demonstrates how councils and partners can use technology to transform the delivery of public services, improve outcomes, and help achieve more for less. It is a must-attend day for all those who commission or manage local public services that are looking for new ways of working to respond to the Coalition Government's themes of localism, efficiency and the Big Society.

On-line Service Cost Calculator release

Do you understand the ‘true’ cost of delivering your services?

Can you identify where there is waste?

Can you model the cost of alternative delivery methods effectively?

To help our members, esd-toolkit has developed a new ‘on-line’ version of its Service Cost Calculator.

The ‘on-line’ Service Cost Calculator applies Activity Based Costing (ABC) techniques and uses our ‘Cost Architecture’ framework to provide a standards based approach for applying ABC in Local Government and partner organisations.

How can Local Authorities continue to deliver services to our most vulnerable communities?


There is an ever-increasing demand on frontline services that address the needs of vulnerable, disadvantaged, socially excluded or problematic client groups.  Approximately 70-80% of local expenditure is spent on providing social protection for the most vulnerable and excluded.

  • one county council says that 53% of its entire spend is directed at only 2% of its population.
  • a lifetime of unemployment has an estimated cost of £250,000

How can we help and support the vulnerable and the disengaged to improve the quality of their lives, reduce their dependency on the social purse and contribute to society  - whilst meeting the challenge of reducing costs?

This news item is the first in a series that will explain that esd-toolkit has a raft of new comprehensive tools to support councils plus a series of events and promotions that will be underway in the second half of the financial year


‘See IT in action - Efficient Services, Improved Lives’ – save the date

Wednesday 6th October 2010 • 9.00am to 4.00pm • Rich Mix, London E1

Book now – only a limited number of places left! 

EventYou are invited to register for a place at the ‘See IT in Action – Efficient Services, Improved Lives’ market place event.  The event will demonstrate good practice in using technology to deliver effective and efficient frontline services (to the most vulnerable communities)

With councils facing new challenges and tighter financial settlements, squeezing current operations isn’t going to be enough – innovation and the re-shaping of public service delivery is required to enable smarter working and improve productivity.  The use of modern design and engagement tools will support public service deliverers to:
  • develop a more coordinated approach to proactive service delivery,
  • improve social well-being within our vulnerable communities,
  • target resources efficiently to minimise down-stream costs and
  • provide the transparent evidence required for public scrutiny.

Defining a standard way of sharing projects and innovation – Have your say

esd-toolkit,Spark, BIS, DWP During September 2010, the pan-government Spark programme and esd-toolkit are working together to define common information that can be shared about public sector projects. The result will be a basic template for sharing project information backed up by an ontology that supports machine-to-machine sharing using Linked Data techniques.

End of Audit Commission and CAA, the future of local scrutiny

BuildingThe letter from Eric Pickles, (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government,) (details on CLG website), sent to local authorities and inspectorates a few months ago, generated much interest amongst our esd-toolkit community.  The letter explained the abolition  of CAA and outlined what the Coalition Government would like to see in the future in terms of local scrutiny (possibly involving commercial auditors?)

Thankfully, the work of the esd-toolkit over the last nine years is now well placed to support local government in collecting informed evidence to assist in the difficult decision making to come. This has been achieved through the investment by the sector in developing standards, tools and methodologies to help councils understand their businesses and their customers from all directions.

Remember that esd-toolkit is a non-profit, public sector initiative owned and led by local government.  Operating the vision of “developing once to be shared freely by all” in order to “share nationally to improve services locally” there is a range of ideas and resources already poised to assist councils in meeting the changing improvement agenda.

Free Business Improvement Group workshop, Nuneaton and Bedworth Council Offices, 23rd Sept

People showing clock faces instead of their faces

"Making the Best Use of People’s Time"

This interactive workshop will explore some of the practical issues through understanding what people are doing and how they may be directed and motivated to do more for less. It will combine applied case study materials and examples of making process redesign work in practice, interlaced with some hard facts and unpalatable truths. We will consider workforce motivation issues and how we may change the nature of work to become learning organisations.

The workshop is free to esd-toolkit subscribers who should register on the esd-toolkit website: http://www.esd.org.uk/esdtoolkit/Events/EventList.aspx

New look TLCs


Has the light at the end of the tunnel been turned off to save money?

Training budgets slashed?

Conferences a 'no - no'?

Struggling to keep up with new initiatives?

esd-toolkit can help.

Our new look TLCs (Toolkit Local Communities) are designed around what you tell us is important. Attending one of these events can keep you up with what’s going on without costing an arm and a leg........because they are free!!!

There is one TLC in each of the nine English regions and one in Scotland throughout the year so check the events calendar to find out your nearest or most convenient.

These are FREE training events and because we have such a varied agenda for the day and don't want anyone to miss out, we are welcoming subscribers from all regions at any event!

Are you handling your records efficiently?

Clock tower

Have you got multiple copies of the same records across different departments?

Are you keeping paperwork longer than you need to?

How confident are you that you keep the records you’re legally required to and can lay your hands on them when required?

Are you making use of standards other councils have put in place or doing everything from scratch?

Well none of us is perfect, but we can improve by seeing what other councils are doing and raising problems that others might have already solved. That's what esd-toolkit's workshop on Implementing an Information Management Strategy based on standard lists to improve the efficiency of records handling is all about.

Indicate precisely what you mean to say

Indicate precisely what you mean to sayThe wave of quick changes to the local authority reporting and inspection regime have left many unclear about what the future is for benchmarking performance.

The Comprehensive Area Assessment process is gone, as are many of the indicator- and process-based inspections, to be replaced by a slimmed down inspection regime concentrating on quality in schools, social care, and delivering value for money from budgets.  Large numbers of Audit Commission staff have been stood down until the replacement process is clear.

At the same time the government has indicated strongly that the current National Indicator reporting regime will be dismantled to be replaced by local decisions on what indicators they will monitor and self publish. The army of national auditors is being replaced by an army of armchair auditors.

esd-toolkit contributes expertise to European project

 It might be the holiday season but esd-toolkit is not on vacation.  Instead the team has been working hard to bring you the first European Conference on customer profiling and service lists.

With a growing audience both in the UK and abroad, esd-toolkit’s reputation for customer profiling and its use of standards is escalating. 

This FREE one day event takes place in Cambridge on Thursday 21 October 2010.

Are you the lead in your authority for publishing council spending & contracts over £500?

Local Government Improvement & Development

The Local Government Group is putting together a list of individuals from local authorities who will have the responsibility for collating and publishing council spending and contracts over £500. If you will be leading on this for your authority please email transparency@local.gov.uk with your contact details. If you have already published the data we would be grateful if you could include a link in your email to us (support@esd.org.uk) advising us of the web location of the spending and contracts data that you may have already published.

Can’t say fairer than that!

Computer networkDid you respond to the Coalition Government’s request for ideas from public sector workers on the ‘Spending Challenge’?

This article contains one such response to this approach to gathering ideas from public sector workers via the Spending Challenge site (which is now closed).

The author told us that she used this submission to recommend more of what the esd-toolkit does to harness the abilities of in-house staff to analyse and resolve public service challenges.

In her view, there exists an idea about a centralised database of skills as an alternative to hiring consultants. Although a good idea, she thinks this is a bureaucratic solution to a more dynamic problem and would be less flexible than what esd-toolkit already does.

'See IT in action - Efficient Services, Improved Lives' – save the date

Wednesday 6th October 2010 • 9.00am to 4.00pm • Rich Mix, London E1

Direct, database and digital marketing practice Save the Date! You are invited to register for a place at the 'See IT in Action - Efficient Services, Improved Lives' market place event. The event will demonstrate good practice in using technology to deliver effective and efficient frontline services (to the most vulnerable communities)

With councils facing new challenges and tighter financial settlements, squeezing current operations isn’t going to be enough - innovation and the re-shaping of public service delivery is required to enable smarter working and improve productivity. The use of modern design and engagement tools will support public service deliverers to:

  • develop a more coordinated approach to proactive service delivery,
  • improve social well-being within our vulnerable communities,
  • target resources efficiently to minimise down-stream costs and
  • provide the transparent evidence required for public scrutiny.

Are you handling your records efficiently?

Have you got multiple copies of the same records across different departments?

Are you keeping paperwork longer than you need to?

How confident are you that you keep the records you’re legally required to and can lay your hands on them when required?

Are you making use of standards other councils have put in place or doing everything from scratch?

Well none of us is perfect, but we can improve by seeing what other councils are doing and raising problems that others might have already solved.  That’s what esd-toolkit’s workshop on Implementing an Information Management Strategy based on standard lists to improve the efficiency of records handling is all about.

Direct, database and digital marketing practice: Black hole or parallel universe?

Direct, database and digital marketing practice esd-toolkit’s Sheila Apicella and Govmetric’s Nic Streatfeild have collaborated to publish an article in the Journal of Direct, Data and Digital Marketing Practice. The paper considers and debates techniques for marketing in this digital age in the public sector and makes some comparisons with the commercial sectors.  

It illustrates how local authorities are succeeding in achieving cost reductions and in improving customer satisfaction levels by migrating specific population segments to more appropriate contact channels.

North Lincolnshire Council exploits the potential of esd-toolkit’s controlled lists

North Lincolnshire Highways and Planning service uses of LGSLNorth Lincolnshire Council is aiming to get the best out of esd-toolkit by using the Controlled Lists to help address a number of issues.

This article explains briefly how the Highways and Planning service has focussed on using the Local Government Service List (LGSL) to help with decisions on locally managed services and records retention.

North Lincolnshire Council

Choosing what services our council delivers and knowing what we MUST deliver

Legislation links through esd-toolkitSevere budgetary constraints are making us look more closely than ever at the mix of services we offer in councils.  There are many routes to achieving savings from stopping deliver a service altogether to redesigning what we deliver to be more efficient and focus better on the most vulnerable people.

But how much discretion do councils have in determining what we deliver?

The answer ultimately lies in the legislation that places a duty on councils to do some things and gives them the power to do others.  Through links to that legislation, esd-toolkit can help.    

esd-toolkit - well placed to support local government in addressing changing priorities

esd-toolkit can help with profiling, the costs of services and standards for data sharing.

Activity Based Costing will enable organisations to understand how much services actually cost and help identify savings by removing waste and duplication.

Customer Profiling techniques from esd-toolkit will help you design your services around the needs of your customers and achieve efficiency savings.  

esd-toolkit can help with standards for data sharing / re-use of information and the costing of services to help increase accountability for local public services through more transparency, richer data and less inspection.

How to respond to the Emergency Budget by ‘Making Best Use of People’s Time’

BudgetHow can the Business Improvement Community start to turn this challenge into an opportunity?

On the 23rd September the Business Improvement Working Group will be holding a workshop called:

“Making the Best Use of People’s Time”

The workshop is free to esd-toolkit subscribers who should register on the esd-toolkit website:  http://www.esd.org.uk/esdtoolkit/Events/EventList.aspx

Please contact peter.wrigley@esd.org.uk for further details.

Working for esd-toolkit

Workeresd-toolkit has vacancies for part time and full time roles in engagement with local government users, training and supporting them.  There are two types of role:

  1. Regional Liaison Manager (RLM) – one day per week engaging with local authorities in your region to help them get the most from esd-toolkit and feedback issues to full-time members of the team
  2. Support Officer – documenting and training on esd-toolkit features, helping maintain controlled lists and assisting with general web site support activities
(RLM) – one day per week engaging with local authorities in your region to help them get the most from esd-toolkit and feedback issues to full-time members of the team

esd-toolkit catches World Cup fever!

We can now show you a comparison of the likely ethnic origins of the 745 players involved in the World Cup with the nations they represent. Take a look at this World Cup Origins spreadsheet produced by Origins Info who work with Experian to deliver the Origins product. Origins is used in esd-toolkit’s ethnicity maps to show the expected predominant ethnicity of people within each post code.

The spreadsheet is derived by running the surname of each player through Origins software. Organisations use the same approach with personal name and family name to get an understanding of the diversity of their customers and work forces.

esd-toolkit 2010-11 – doing more with less

Now that the dust is settling on the priorities for the new coalition government, we thought it timely to remind you of what to look out for from the esd-toolkit programme to help you in the coming year. The key priority that remains is how to do more with less. Obviously (we hope) key to this is more careful targeting of services to customer needs, as well as understanding the costs of component processes within a service (thus quantifying the savings through the removal of waste).

The Customer Insight Work Stream will:
  • continue Customer Profiling techniques and publish case studies;
  • identify what services are important to different customer segmentations:
  • develop the application of customer satisfaction and avoidable contact data to service redesign

The Business Improvement Work stream will:
  • roll out the new online Cost Calculator to support cost modelling within the councils’ processes
  • provide improved data collection and efficiency reporting facilities
  • provide support packages and offer training events
  • publish case study materials that evidence improvement and savings

The Key Information/Standards Work Stream will:

  • maintain existing controlled lists and add performance indicator types
  • demonstrate how councils can identify savings through identifying which services are mandatory (duties) and which are discretionary (powers).
  • further develop the Local Government Business Model
  • define how controlled lists are used to improve efficiency and transparency

Using esd-toolkit’s lists to improve transparency and efficiency

LGBM diagramesd-toolkit has always made public the framework of controlled lists it uses to cross-reference information and analyse figures. Now, as transparency is highlighted as a political imperative, that framework (known as the  Local Government Business Model - LGBM) can be used to make sense of data being opened up by local government.

In a letter sent to all Government departments the Prime Minister set out plans to open up data.  Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude will chair a new Transparency Board, including experts and advocates such as Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Nigel Shadbolt and Tom Steinberg, to drive the agenda across Government.

esd-toolkit has revamped its standards pages at http://standards.esd.org.uk/ to support all lists that make up LGBM and express them according to the Open Linked Data standards promoted by these experts and used in data.gov.uk. The Local Government Services List (LGSL) remains central to the model.  LGSL is used by Local Directgov and Business Link as well as by many local authorities within their CMS and CRM systems.  LGSL provides common definitions of local government services and allows meaningful links to be made between data from different public sector organisations. Applying common service references means that materials created by one body can easily be re-used by others.

Funding for Customer Led Transformation

Applications are being invited for the fourth phase of CLG’s Customer Led Transformation fund.  The funding is available for Customer Insight and / or Social Media based projects.

Councils seeking esd-toolkit’s input to a proposal or wishing to disseminate results through esd-toolkit should contact Sheila Apicella , who leads esd-toolkit’s Customer Insight work stream.

Invitation to tender for Local Information Partnerships Programme (LIPs)


These are challenging times for local government and its partner organisations with public sector organisations being challenged to develop key strategic change programmes to deliver service transformation and efficiency. Partnership working is central to achieving this change. Having a ‘joined up’ set of public sector services for the local community is at the heart of both Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) and ‘Total Place’.


Hosted by the Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA), the Local Information Partnerships Programme (LIPs) aims to enable better targeted service delivery and improved performance, through the controlled sharing of both summary (aggregated) and customer (disaggregated) data across LSPs.

As Local Authority users interested in knowledge sharing and data exchange to improve the citizen experience with local government services, please bring this invitation to tender opportunity to your suppliers and consultancies working in this area.

Full details and downloads of the pre-qualification questionnaire are available at the following link:  www.idea.gov.uk/lipstender

A step by step approach to making serious savings and reaching citizens by the right means

Profiling collage

A practical guide is now available* to using customer profiling and service costing techniques in tandem. It shows how to achieve efficiencies and savings in a way that can easily be applied to your Council.

Applying Customer Profiling and Activity Based Costing to inform channel shift and to increase service take-up – A practical guide was authored by esd-toolkit’s Peter Wrigley and Sheila Apicella from materials obtained in workshops with East Herts Council and Plymouth City Council. It also draws on the experiences of local authorities participating in Phases I and II of esd-toolkit’s Customer Profiling Project, including Nuneaton and Bedworth Council and Wear Valley Council (which now forms part of the Durham Unitary Council).

The Guide describes the end to end process of targeting customers to increase uptake of direct debit payment of council tax and the use of libraries.