With the rise of big data and the increase in technology available, it seems that a data-driven government agency would be the norm rather than unusual. Although federal and state government departments are embracing this new data age, it doesn’t appear that local councils are taking advantage of the massive amounts of data they collect to operate as efficiently as they could be.
Local councils want to know about the effectiveness of their service delivery and require the tools to measure efficiency and performance. They need to know how much work is being completed in order to determine how well it’s operating. Yet, the majority of councils don’t actually properly track the work they do.
Part of the reason is that several local councils, particularly regional councils, don’t have automated work order systems, instead relying heavily on post-it notes and printed-out emails to assign work. Others councils that do have work order systems aren’t utilising them properly. The result is that they don’t have the information that’s useful for reporting or to make the best business decisions.
For those councils that do have strong data, many aren’t analysing it to help inform management decisions, because few councils in the past have had staff with the training and time to analyse data regularly and act on it.
Local governments are also suffering from a lack of foundational data. For instance, many councils are unable to determine whether their parking ticketing officers are issuing tickets at the times and places with the highest numbers of incidents. This could be due to the data not being properly exported to the same maps to compare information.
With many local councils falling behind the pace of state and federal government agencies, it is crucial that they are brought up to speed on all things data. Furthermore, with amalgamation happening, local councils are going to have to learn how to merge and share data with other councils effectively. The Data Analytics for Effective Decision Making conference will feature case studies on how councils can utilise the latest technologies on data analytics to help inform their business strategies and decision making.