The Local Government Association has launched an Application Programme Interface (API) for local government and its partners to easily ‘plug in’ to the local, regional and national data it holds.
The API will allow organisations such as charities, housing associations and businesses to access more than 3,000 items of data for use in new or existing apps and web-based services, such as local community council dashboards.
The API allows anyone to view and download open data about local areas, such as demographic details and performance data as well as data on employment; looked-after children and exam results. The data is structured so that users can search by individual ward, groups of wards, councils, groups of councils, regional and national areas.
The service is free for light use, although LGA will charge a small fee for more extensive use.
Data feeds in to the API directly from LG Inform and LG Inform Plus, the Association’s regularly-updated local information service providing freely available, up-to-date published data about localities and the performance of local authorities nationwide. Many local authorities use the services to compare the performance of their own organisations with others.
“Ultimately the aim is to open up access to the information, be more transparent and try and work with others in innovative ways by sharing the information we’ve got”, said an LGA spokesperson. He said the tool could encourage collaborative working between local government and organisations including charities and national bodies.
According to the LGA, the API will be of particular benefit to website and app developers (both amateur and professional), property marketing agencies, education and academic organisations, central government organisations, the community and voluntary sector, media companies and the insurance and financial services sector.
LGA is holding a breakfast briefing to provide further information at Local Government House in Smith Square, London, SW1P 3HZ on Thursday 9 July from 8.30am until around 10.30. Book your place.