Lancashire takes lead in running pilot of first app to be developed from new scheme for service descriptions
The Local Government Association (LGA) and Lancashire County Council are planning the first use of a new data standard for local service descriptions with a pilot to test an app aimed at supporting health and wellbeing.
It will be run around Chorley early next year, as a step towards building a solution with wider applications to help users identify local services.
The programme is aimed at developing a consistent way of describing local services for different contexts, so it can be used by public authorities and software developers to help people find appropriate services from different organisations and across local borders.
This follows the conclusion of some work by iStandUK, the organisation that promotes e-standards to support local services, to develop a format that will work for all councils. It has worked with a number of authorities and software providers to produce a consistent format.
Programme manager Tim Adams told UKAuthority that a draft schema has been drawn up and reviewed by the project team, and will be shared more widely in the coming weeks. This has followed a consultation, run by iStandUK, with local authorities, commercial suppliers, information hub leaders and open data specialists.
The pilot in Lancashire will be the next step, with a focus on supporting healthy lifestyles and wellbeing.
Applications developer IEG4 is working on a trial app to deploy sample data linked to the standards model. It is expected in the new year and should help the programme team identify any issues emerging for the use of the schema.
Marcus Devaney, virtual services development worker at Lancashire, said the first pilot will take place in Chorley using the standard for a health and wellbeing app to be used by staff in relevant services in assessing the support needed by individuals. It will make use of open data from various sources and federated clinical data from local services.
The app will provide a series of questions on the quality of life, scoring the answers on a 1-5 basis on how appropriate a statement is to help decide, for example, whether the person should be directed to self-help measures, community or mental health services. This could contribute to a more place based approach to delivering the relevant services.
“We’re trying to create a new way of working,” Devaney said. “For us it helps a local authority, particularly frontline services, to see it as useful in supporting people’s lives rather than as a high level, academic approach to the data.
“It has the potential to do that and we hope it will create user buy-in.”
The pilot is due to run from January until the spring, when the project team will provide feedback to IEG4 and the LGA.
“We are currently unsure what level of take-up, interest and practical success this pilot will achieve,” Adams said. “We all accept it is just a start to an ambitious new way of supporting places and citizens with local services matched to their locations and needs. It will draw together local government, voluntary and private sectors into the same discovery channels.
“Depending on the results achieved by this pilot, we would hope to bid for greater funding and support to roll out the potential more widely in the new financial year.”
The overall programme, reported by UKA in September, involves reviewing local information systems and identifying best practice to develop the data schema. This will be followed by the development of a data publishing process.
Image from iStock