LGA and Lancashire running pilot to develop health and wellbeing app from new scheme for service descriptions

A new project has started in Summer 2016 to work with data standards experts, open data enthusiasts and local public service providers (including local authorities and their partners) to find a better way to identify and match local services to the needs of citizens and the places they serve. The programme is being led by the Local Government Association Research & Information Team with programme manager, Tim Adams. The work will build upon the information standards and open data support already provided as part of the “Better Use of Data” workstream, underpinned by the LGA’s open data online tools and resources. The work will follow the best practice guidelines that are set out in the joint LGA/Open Data Institute (ODI) eLearning modules.

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. 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. 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 2017 until the spring, when the project team will provide feedback to IEG4 and the LGA.

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