Birmingham Civic Dashboard
April 24, 2012

The Birmingham Civic Dashboard project (( commissioned by Birmingham City Council, implemented by Mudlark, a design studio, and funded by Nesta is a good example of the novel use of data held by public authorities.

According to Socitm, English local authorities receive 600m customer contacts each year. Based on Birmingham City Council’s contact centre, which handles public enquiries, the Birmingham Civic Dashboard takes data on citizen’s queries and visualises those on a map. The Dashboard taps into Birmingham City Council’s ‘contact centre database’, the customer relationship management system. To ensure data privacy, the system reduces the geographical resolution of location of reported queries and it filters out some queries, such as complaints and compliments.

Feedback from users:

The Birmingham Civic Dashboard offered visitors to the website the option to leave feedback. A heuristic evaluation of all comments made via the blogging tool undertaken on 7thFeb 2012 showed that a majority of users perceived the dashboard an interesting and potentially also useful tool (see below).

Statement typeCriteriaCount
Positive commentStatements indicating approval with or without suggestions for future service improvements.11(45%)
Neutral commentStatements without a valuing connotation (some statements where phrased as questions).9 (38%)
Negative commentStatements which included negative remarks, for example saying that the BCD is pointlessness or mainly pointing out limitations without suggestion for improvement.4 (17%)

Suggested improvements to the BCD included the wish to see how a query was dealt with. Some comments called for improvements to the visual representation to make it more useful, such as a more detailed map, ability to select time frames, and the option to cluster several similar queries when zooming out of the map.