I was quite surprised (in a good way) at the amount of media interest in the Audit Commission’s new Oneplace website. For those who haven’t come across it yet, it is a good attempt at making some of the mountains of data collected through local public service inspections more public facing. You can now type in your postcode and find out how, for example, your council or police service is rated.
I don’t want to be too critical, as it is big a step in the right direction; however, it is still lacks the kind of ‘friendliness’ people need for this kind of information to be genuinely empowering. For example, I typed in the postcode of the place I grew up in Warwickshire. I get some good paragraphs on how Warwickshire is doing, with a red flag indicating the area needs better partnership working.
But what can I do with this information? Can OnePlace help direct my curiosity into action? The links to get involved aren’t prominent. When found, they just send me to the DirectGov website on ways people get involved locally. It’s a shame no direct local links are provided yet – nothing which makes it easy for me to get involved in local action without several clicks, postcode entries and searching around. Hopefully this will come at some point in the future.