There is considerable excitement at the headquarters of one of London’s more innovative boroughs over its launch of two new online statistics platforms that bring together impressive quantities of data about individual wards and their residents in publicly accessible forms.
The Borough Data Explorer was commissioned by Barking & Dagenham Council. It assembles figures which, the council says, “either contribute to our borough manifesto targets” or are featured within the second platform, which is called the Social Progress Index.
The Explorer carries material about all 32 boroughs, enabling B&D residents or anyone else to compare and contrast what is happening in their part of Greater London with other boroughs as a whole. It also permits us to “drill down” to lower layer super output area levels (LSOAs), which are bits of territory still smaller than wards. For B&D, a total of 87 indicators have been categorised under seven manifesto themes: including skills and education, environment and housing.
The Index is restricted to B&D wards and provides scores and rankings for everything from personal safety – various kinds of crime rates – to residents’ access to communications technology and use of libraries, to youth employment.
What some of the figures provided exactly signify is not always quickly obvious and there appear to be one or two wrinkles still to be ironed out. Even so, there is a lot of fascinating information to be burrowed into. If you are seeking a statistical mosaic of a part of London that has seen more rapid and sometimes difficult change than most, you now know where to look.