The Chairman welcomed Ms. D. Poole, Head of Transformation, Organisational Development and Digital Strategy, Ms. T. Beech, Policy Officer and Mr. K. Judd, a Power BI Project Developer who is assisting in the development of the new dashboard.
Ms. Poole explained that the current legacy dashboard had a number of technical limitations and a project had been set up to replace this with a modern more up to date dashboard through Power BI, which would improve access to data and the decision-making process. It would initially concentrate on the strategic measures in line with the Council Plan, touching on operational measures as part of the ongoing design. Details of the stages which would lead to the full implementation of the project were provided, and it was further explained that by using Microsoft Power BI which had much more functionality it would allow for the data to be interrogated in a more useful and meaningful way.
Mr. Judd went on to give a presentation showing the development of the dashboard to date and how it was envisaged it would be used. The detailed presentation covered the following areas:
· An overview of how the dashboard would look and how the data could be analysed in greater detail.
· The option to make some areas of the dashboard public and the need for Power BI Licenses.
· The use of internal data and what value this would add – it was demonstrated as to how this could be broken down into greater detail and the view changed to suit the users’ needs.
· The visual interaction of the information – including the use of comments to support the data.
· The inclusion of a help button to support the user and guide them through the functionality of the dashboard.
· Mr. Judd used an example of Crime figures, although these were nationally available the dashboard allowed for these to be broken down into more detail, which was relevant to each particular Ward area.
· In respect of operational measures an example of data for fly tipping was provided and this again could be broken down into specific Place Teams and locations.
· Work was currently underway to understand what additional data could help with further analysis.
Following the presentation, the Chairman invited Councillor G. Denaro, as the relevant Portfolio Holder to comment. He said the information that the dashboard would provide would be very useful and the ability to drill down to specific Wards was very positive. Members went on to discuss a number of areas in more detail and officers responded to a number of questions. This included:
· Concerns around some areas (such as the crime records) being duplicated, as these were already available and what actions could be taken once they had the data. Officers advised that although it was national data it would be made more accessible and used to see if it had any bearing on the services offered – this could be analysed in more detail and provide more value to officers in shaping the services provided. It was useful to understand crime rates and to be able to support specific communities affected.
· The Head of Planning, Regeneration and Economic Development commented that the data in respect of housing would be used for monitoring purposes in line with the Local Plan and to ensure that the Council was meeting its objectives. It would also be used to check delivery and included within the annual monitoring report that was completed.
· The cost of the dashboard was also considered – it was noted that a license would cost approximately £68 each. The aim would be to keep the cost to a minimum and the cost of developing the dashboard was officer time and within the existing budget.
· Members asked for a more detail costing for officer time and Ms. Poole agreed to provide this outside of the meeting.
· Concerns were raised that if all Members were to have a license, then this would be a significant annual cost to the Council. It was suggested that it could be limited to the equipment available for Members’ use in the Members’ Room, if necessary.
· The Executive Director, Finance and Resources confirmed that the dashboard was currently in its development phase and the scope of it was being built, the resources to fund it and the final costs would be considered in the later stage and be subject to further consideration.
· It was questioned whether the officer time spent on the dashboard’s development had impacted on other areas of work within the Council.
· It appeared to be a good system and the importance of being what sat behind the data was discussed. As it was acknowledged that the integrity of the data was paramount to its success and the importance of that data to prevent future problems and make the Council work more effectively.
· The system’s interaction with other systems within the Council in order to extract data was discussed.
· It was suggested that a link to an officer within the information provided on the dashboard would also be useful in order to be able to get a more immediate response when a concern or query was raised.
· It was suggested that operational data would be more important for Members - although it was accepted that currently it was focused on strategic measures in line with the Council Plan and that operational measures would be part of the longer term plan for the dashboard.
Ms. Poole confirmed that it was helpful to get feedback from Members and she was happy for any Members to contact her with views and ideas moving forwards. The provision of training for users was discussed and it was hoped that this would be minimal as the system was counter intuitive and guidance, as previously demonstrated, would be provided on screen. Mr. Judd explained that they had already used an officer as a “guinea pig” to help understand what was needed from any training, and this was likely to be at an informal level and currently light touch, but further input was needed to confirm this.
In respect of timescales for implementation of the dashboard it was confirmed that as many areas of the Council has possible would be included at each stage and it was anticipated that it would be rolled out to officers and Councillors by the end of the year. Concerns were raised again about the cost of the development of the dashboard and the importance of the Council ensuring it was value for money. The Executive Director, Finance and Resources reassured Members that it was currently being managed within budget, but this would be monitored on a regular basis.
Ms. Poole confirmed that the current dashboard remained in place and that the new system would replace that system. The previous system was still available but was over a decade old and technically no longer fit for purpose. The new system would use more modern tools for accessing data.
The Chairman thanked the officers for their presentation and hoped the dashboard would be as successful at it appeared. He also asked for the costings to be provided as detailed in the discussions.