Hackney Council has set up an online library of user research and has invited other local authorities to contribute what they have learned on relevant issues.
Its head of data and digital Matthew Cain said it has been created to help the council improve its understanding of its residents and to ensure this continues to grow rather than being confined to individual projects.
The library has now been available through the LocalGov Digital channel since last month and includes documents on different categories of research, including issues affecting council tenants and staff, customer accounts, user researchers in digital teams, planning applicants and community groups.
While it is open for public authorities to contribute, it is also available for anyone to view.
Cain said that this goes beyond Hackney’s recent reactivation of the LocalGov Digital Pipeline on local government digital projects by placing an emphasis on research rather than project implementations.
“Our sense is that as part of our quality control we want to know we are learning something through different projects, and to be sure we are not systematically learning from just one group of Hackney residents.
“By collecting research in this way and making it publicly available it provides a transparent tool to make sure we are building incrementally and learning the right things from the right people.”
Maidstone Council has already contributed some research and Cain said that there has been interest from other councils and organisations beyond local government to make contributions.
“It’s there for organisations to place their own insights but it’s not a debating forum as we have no team for moderation,” he said, adding: “It’s still early days for the tool and we’re still working out how it can best work, but it’s proving useful so far and we will look to improve it and add value.”
Image by Mike Lawrence, CC BY 2.0 through flickr