Image shows the words, “Data has a better idea”.

Photo by Franki Chamaki on Unsplash

Back in July I thought it would be worth running a survey aimed at people in research-related roles across local government.

‘Why?’, I hear you say. Good question. I’ve been asking that myself recently. I used to work in local government research and a few of my clients are local councils so it’s something that interests me. Certainly over the last couple of years I didn’t make enough time to understand what everyone else is up to.

Anyway, 3 months and 50 odd responses later, here are the results. Thanks to everyone who took the time to complete the survey.

It’s by no means a complete picture of local government research. It’s got a bit of a District and North West feel. But it is what it is. Hopefully there’s still some useful stuff in it.

For what it’s worth, a few things that emerged for me:

  • Only 18 of 54 respondents had attended some training or accessed some learning relating to research during the last 12 months. Many of these examples were networks or conferences.
  • When it comes to learning new things, a number of people are looking to develop skills and knowledge around data science and R (more than anything else).
  • There also seems to be an appetite for research to have more impact through more storytelling, data vis and engaging departments, partners and the public.
  • Capacity and resource was always going to be the biggest challenge flagged, but it’s also meaning some people are not developing the skills they feel they need.
  • Research not being valued or prioritised in some organisations came out as a common challenge, but demonstrating this organisational value was also identified as the biggest opportunity over the next 12 months.
  • Examples of successful research projects tended to be because of good team work and partnerships, or because the outcome made a real difference.
  • The work of Essex Data seems to be interesting quite a few people. If you haven’t seen it, the Essex Analytics and Research teams have an Insight Blog which I’m really enjoying.

Anyway, I’ll leave you to it. I’ve stuck an appendix of the comments at the end. I imagine you’ll struggle to read these if your eyesight is anything like mine. But if you download the slides you should be okay.

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