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Strictly embargoed until: 00:01 Thursday 7 April 2016
ONE MONTH UNTIL THE LOCAL ELECTIONS – ARE YOU OUT FOR THE COUNT?
LGiU unveils plans for UK’s first local elections results tracker
With one month to go until the 2016 local elections, the Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) today launches “Out for the Count,” a new campaign calling for more open and accessible data on local elections across the UK.
A single, easily accessible online platform with details of local elections, candidates and subsequent results does not exist, leaving many voters in the dark when it comes to who they are electing locally. With support from the Open Data Institute (ODI) and ODI Showcase grant funding, the LGiU and Democracy Club will deliver just this: the UK’s first election results tracker for local government elections, pulling together results live from counts taking place across the country as they come in.
By crowdsourcing data provided by count correspondents (volunteers from local government and the wider community) on the night of the elections, the results tracker will drill down as far as ward levels results which will be shared as open data. This tracker can then be used for any subsequent open election, anywhere in the world.
Over the past five years, the LGiU has provided its own live local elections coverage and results service with insights into what’s happening on the ground and what it means for the country as a whole.
This year, on Thursday 5 May, 124 councils are up for election including four Mayoral elections in Bristol, Liverpool, Salford and London. Our in-depth report, “Out for the Count – a Guide to the Local Elections,” looks at what’s at stake, the key councils to watch and the current political context.
Jonathan Carr-West, Chief Executive of LGiU, said: “There’s a lot at stake in these local elections. These are momentous times for local government. Councils are implementing a new funding settlement that requires some tough choices. They are moving towards a completely new finance model by 2020. They are working through the implications of new devolution settlements. All this while struggling to provide the daily services that communities across the country rely on.
Of course people vote for individual candidates, but we believe that they should have as much information, presented as transparently as possible, to help them in making those decisions and in understanding their potential consequences. That’s when democracy works best.
That’s why we’re so pleased to be working with the Democracy Club,with support from the ODI, on an election tracker that will truly transform the democratic process in this country, giving citizens the power of knowledge when it comes to the elections taking place in their communities.”
Jeni Tennison, Technical Director at the ODI said: Publishing comprehensive open data on elections, candidates and voting results should be the default, not the exception. Out for the Count are tackling this significant data gap head on by creating an accessible online tool for tracking voter results in real time on election day which works seamlessly with existing tools for reviewing candidate information before elections. We’re looking forward to seeing the impact of their work and learning wider lessons about how to collaborate to create and maintain open data for everyone’s benefit.”
Notes to editors
The Local Government Information Unit (LGiU) is a think tank and membership body with over 200 councils and other organisations subscribing to our networks. We work to strengthen local democracy and put citizens in control of their own lives, communities and local services. For more information, visit lgiu.org.
About Democracy Club
Democracy Club aims to make the process of democracy better for everyone. We believe that there is a lot of work needed to be done to bring the UK political system in the to digital age, and our tools are a start. For more information, visit https://democracyclub.org.uk/.
About the ODI
Founded by Sirs Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt, the Open Data Institute (ODI) is an independent non-profit, non-partisan organisation, that connects, equips and inspires people around the world to innovate with data. For more information, visit http://theodi.org/.
About the ODI Showcase
The ODI Showcase supports projects that demonstrate how open data can be used to bring longstanding benefits to individuals, organisations and society. The ODI provides grant funding, mentoring and promotional support to maximise these impacts.