null ODI modules offer authorities 24/7 access to open data learning and support, CC0, uploaded by Pexels.

The Local Government Association (LGA) is using the ODI’s blended learning framework to improve the way that local authorities publish and use data. Three online learning modules and a series of webinars will enable councils to publish quality, consistent data.

Gesche Schmid, Programme Manager Data and Transparency, and Tim Adams, Programme Manager at LG Inform Plus tell us why they are excited about the blended learning framework and what they hope to achieve with it.

Tell us a bit about the LGA and what you do

At the LGA, we work with councils to support, promote and improve local government. Our mission is to support local authorities to open up and make better use of data in order to promote economic and social growth, empower citizens to build their communities and be publicly accountable.

What inspired you to explore blended learning for the LGA?

We wanted to promote a better understanding about how to publish and use quality open data, and highlight the importance for councils in opening up their data. The online modules in particular enable authorities to have 24/7 access to learning and support, and are easy to follow and consume.

Are there any problems in particular that you will use the new learning modules to help solve?

They will improve the quality of published open data, and minimise inconsistencies in data through the promotion of standards. The step-by-step data publishing guides will enable local authorities to perform more effectively and efficiently, and get new learners up to speed.

What is your favourite thing about the ODI’s online learning platform?

Our favourite thing about the platform is the easy-to-follow guide with the option of drop-down boxes to read further information. Also, we recognise the ODI as the leading experts in the field of open data and as advocates and advisers of best practice. Through working with the ODI, we are ensuring we maintain best practice in data publishing in local government.

How do you think improved data use can enhance the way authorities operate?

It will allow councils to get a better insight about the operation of services, needs of citizens, and target resources where they are needed most. The adoption of standards also helps in sharing and connecting data across and with other organisations to get a broader understanding about needs, and to tackle them collaboratively, instead of taking measures in isolation.

How important do you think open data will be for local authorities in 10 years? Open data will be a matter of fact unless data is protected for personal or security reasons. However, a funding and delivery model for open data will need to be considered for keeping up the quality of the data as resources, skills and capacity are dwindling in local authorities.

Who do you hope to reach and collaborate with by publishing more open data?

We hope to reach the wider public to better inform them about local services and initiatives, so they can easily take part in engaging and shaping local areas and communities. Open data is also essential for collaborating with other organisations to provide seamless services locally and across regions.

From May through to July, the ODI will be hosting a series of private webinars to take local authorities through the modules and offer them a chance to ask questions. Explore the LGA learning modules, or contact [email protected] for more information about the ODI’s blended learning.

Steffica Warwick is Product Manager at the ODI. Follow @StefficaWarwick on Twitter.

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