Civil Society data resources and projects

London Datastore 

The London Datastore is a free and open data-sharing portal where anyone can access data relating to the capital. Whether you're a citizen, charity, business owner, researcher or developer, the site provides more than 700 datasets which can be downloaded and used by anyone. Explore the datastore.

We are now running datastore office hours. Email [email protected] with any query about London's data and we will signpost and support you to find what you need.

We have also created some step-by-step guides of how to find, download and analyse datasets from the London Datastore. See the examples: example 1 and example 2.

 

Useful data resources

We've put together a document with useful datasets which are open and can be accessed by all: see the datasets document.

 

Refugee and Migrant Data Project 

Superhighways, DataKind UK and Localising Equality were awarded a grant to deliver the Refugee and Migrant Data Project in 2019. The 6 month project worked with refugee and migrant communities to develop their data practices, delivered bespoke training to a cohort of 5 organisations and ran a number of workshops open to all London's Refugee and Migrant Organisations. 

Read more about the project on the partnership's site Refugee and Migrant Data Project.

Data Expeditions

A data expedition is an event that brings together those that might hold data, policy makers and data scientists to gain insight and develop hypothesis on a chosen topic or theme.  

We believe that civil society has significant potential to inform public policy. The data expedition is an opportunity to highlight the potential of data, share insight and build partnerships. We hope to achieve the following outcomes from the Data Expeditions we deliver: 

  • Encourage the development of an understanding of how data can be used more broadly.  

  • Build new data skills and capacity in the sector and improve data maturity.   

  • To answer key questions and fill the gaps in knowledge with pooled data and resource.   

  • To create data outputs such as visualisations, data needs or stories and share the findings and learnings with a wider group. 

Over the last year we have delivered two Data Expeditions, one with London's Sports Sector and one with the Advice Sector. Read blogs from both events below...

Active Data: City Hall’s Sports Data Expedition

The GLA’s Civil Society team, in partnership with 360Giving, Substance and Upshot, hosted our first data expedition on the 31st of October, exploring London sports data. A data expedition is an event which brings together those that might hold data, policy makers and data scientists to gain insight into a chosen topic or theme.  

The aim of the event was to highlight that civil society has significant potential to inform public policy through better use of their own and open data, sharing insight and building partnerships. We hoped that participants would develop new data skills, discover new insightful datasets and create data outputs including visualisations, data gaps and data needs.  

We crowdsourced a question for our Expedition, using the online platform allourideas.org. Ten ideas were submitted, and over 350 votes cast. The following topics received the most votes: 

  • Sports activity and social integration 

  • Understanding inactivity  

  • Funding of sports activity 

On the day  

Forty participants from various organisations and backgrounds took part, including local and national sports charities, funders, data analysts, universities and local government, all bringing a variety of skills.  

It became apparent very quickly that working with data, especially in a concentrated timeframe, must be an iterative process and reframing the questions based on findings throughout the day is part of the process.  

Time was spent defining the core of the questions, evaluating what type of data would help respond to the question and then researching and exploring the web to find relevant datasets. This was not without challenges; defining terms used in the research questions, finding data that was useful and being able to locate it in an accessible format were some of the barrier's teams faced.  

Once data had been found it was a case of analysing the data, drawing on the analyst skills in the room, summarising key findings and understanding how these responded to the questions in hand. It was often the case that the datasets and findings responded to only part of the question and so the caveats were put in place that further work was needed to respond fully to our research questions.  

We wrapped up the day with the three groups presenting their findings to the room, with various data visuals having been created to demonstrate interesting findings.  

What we learnt 

Participants discovered new datasets, developed data skills and learnt how to use free online data tools. The day also highlighted the important role that non ‘data-specialists’ have in asking the right questions and understanding the patterns within real life contexts.  

Some interesting findings from the day:  

  • 3 London boroughs (Wandsworth, Camden and Westminster) receive 45% of the total sports funding in London based on data shared on 360 Giving.  

  • 4 London boroughs spend a significant amount more per 1,000 people on sport provision compared to the rest of the London. These are Camden, Wandsworth, Southwark and Hackney. 

  • Having a high number of sports facilities in a borough does not necessarily mean a borough’s population is more active.  

  • The most ethnically diverse LSOAs across London have a lower sports participation average (55%) than that of the boroughs in which they are situated (58%) and London as a whole (64%) 

These are high level conclusions which need further unpicking and analysis to be truly useful insights to the sports sector, service providers and policy makers. 

Next steps 

We will share these hypotheses with the GLA Sports team to shape further research and policy in sports activity, provision and participation across London. 

Understanding London's Advice Sector

On the 28th of June, City Hall and the Advice Services Alliance bought together a multi-skilled group of people, including those from advice services, wider civil society, funders and data analysts to explore and see what they could find out about London’s Advice Sector through a variety of open datasets available for all to use.  

The aim of the day was to develop insights into the Advice Sector in London through the use of data, whilst demonstrating the power of data when analysed and interpreted by multi-discipline groups. The day was one of skills and knowledge sharing, finding new datasets and learning about and using new data tools.  

Six teams embarked on trying to unpick and understand the size and shape of the Advice Sector, with three main themes to focus on: 

  • London’s changing advice needs; 

  • Advice deserts; 

  • the quality of Advice across London 

Key findings from the six teams included:  

  • The size and breadth of types of advice providers dissipates as you move into outer London Borough’s despite levels of specific need varying across the capital. 

  • The funding picture for advice provision across different London borough’s varies dramatically.  

  • West London Borough’s with high levels of international migration, were shown to have a dearth of immigration advice provision. 

  • There was recognition of the need for an open data standard across advice providers, so that data could be accessed, aggregated and analysed more easily.  

  • Without standardised data, teams identified proxy datasets to identify the need for advice, with one group exploring statutory homelessness rates by borough, possession order rates and number of evictions per borough to begin to unpick areas with a high level of need for specialist advice around housing and eviction.  

  • Read here for a more detailed summary of the team's work 

By the end of the day, all six teams had shared insights and knowledge and presented their findings to the group. The teams really enjoyed collaborating with new people from various expert backgrounds. Some of the participants highlights of the day were having the time to ‘do data’, explore new datasets and sites and learn how to use different data tools. 

Some teams faced the challenge of finding and accessing key data. Although frustrating, this has encouraged participants to consider how their organisations can fill this gap and how as a whole we can make data about London’s Advice Services more readily available in order to understand growing or changing needs and to inform what provision is needed and where.  

Overall, there was a real sense that data is only as powerful as the interpretation and narrative that comes with it and a collaborative approach, with multi-disciplined teams is an interesting and effective way of moving this conversation forward. 

 

Exploring Southwark's Civil Society

Working collaboratively with the London Borough of Southwark, Community Southwark and place-based funders, on the 25 November, City Hall's community engagement team hosted a Data Expedition exploring the health of Southwark's Civil Society.

 

This innovative approach allowed for knowledge sharing between participants and showcased the impact of cross-sector working when it comes to using data. Southwark Civil Society organisations and funders had the opportunity to work with data volunteers to develop data skills whilst also exploring the size and shape of the sector, the need in the borough and understanding the diversity of funding available to the sector.

 

Participants explored new datasets, learnt new data skills and used data visulisation tools to share their findings at the end of the day.

 

Read the teams recommendations for partners going forward here.

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