The fourth LARIA North East Networking event was well-attended, with 14 attendees and four presenters. Held in the impressive surroundings of Northallerton County Hall (thanks to Tim Caswell, Steve Evans and North Yorkshire County Council for providing the venue), we enjoyed a mixture of presentations on information management and networking, and the chance to meet other North East local area researchers.

We first heard from Andy Davis from Warwick University on the topic “Better Together: Councils and universities working to improve local areas”. Andy discussed new opportunities for councils and universities to pool their resources for better information, such as the LGA Leading Places programme. For more information please contact Andy here:

Andy Davis presenting.

Next, John Mitchell from Durham County Council discussed how Durham County Council’s new Durham Insight platform provides better information to the council and their partners.  For more information about Durham Insight please contact John Mitchell here:

LARIA North East members had mentioned at earlier networking events that they wanted more time to get to know each other, so we had a long tea and coffee break for people to discuss their projects and opportunities to work together.

Following the networking time, Richard Potter from Analytics Cambridge Ltd. presented on the LGA’s “Intelligent Council Project”. This aimed to explore what helps and what is needed for a Council to improve its intelligence, and to promote good practice and evidence-based decision-making.

Finally, Louise Reeve, the LARIA North East Regional Organiser presented on “What’s happening with LARIA nationally?”, including the online forum, the results of a recent project about what’s going on in local government research project, and the upcoming LARIA Annual Conference in May 2019. Feedback on the event was generally positive and included comments such as:

“It was useful to network and find out what others were working on. It would be helpful to know in advance who was attending, what their role is and what they’re currently working on.”

Topics that people wanted future events to cover included:

  • Brexit
  • How people have used research and intelligence to change service delivery or make savings.
  • How people have justified their role within their organisation by demonstrating the real impact and value of their work.
  • Health analytics.
  • Power BI and other systems used to manage data.
  • “It would be useful to keep the Intelligent Council initiative on the agenda given that some authorities are supposed to piloting a framework or similar this spring.”

Thanks to everyone who attended for making it such an amazing event. The next one will be in Autumn 2019. Watch this space!

Louise Reeve