Travel to Work: 'We need an evidence base to improve our transport infrastructure'

With the 2016 Open Data Awards just around the corner, we catch up with Charlene Adutwim, Senior Analyst within Organisational Intelligence at Essex County Council – one of Innovation Award finalists.

The Open Data Awards celebrate innovation and excellence in open data across the world. Hundreds of inspiring people and organisations have been nominated. The awards will be held on 1 November 2016 at the BFI Southbank. Explore all nominees and finalists and follow #OpenDataAwards for updates on the night.


Travel to Work analysis, MapEssex

@EssexCC null

Hi Charlene! What do you do, in a nutshell?

Working as a Senior Analyst within Organisational Intelligence at Essex County Council, I lead and deliver research that supports how public services are commissioned. Previous analytical projects I’ve delivered include establishing a consistent version of population projections and delivering new forecasting models for Adult Social Care. I also manage a small team of analytical staff who provide insight for the Waste, Economic Growth and Safer Communities portfolios.

What first got you excited about open data?

Working closely with open data from the 2011 Census was the first time I really appreciated the data that was collected and became excited about the possibilities. It contained a wealth of information on a range of topics, from the number of bedrooms in a household to long-term health problems within the population. I was particularly struck by how this open data could be used by academics, businesses and even local and national government to plan and take informed decisions.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?

Increasingly limited time and resources are our biggest challenges. With a growing need to make savings, it is important that the decisions made are evidence-based. Our insight helps to ensure that we continue to provide care and support to the most vulnerable people in society, and so we are often in high demand. Key to making these well-informed decisions is access to data – this helps make sure we provide accurate and insightful intelligence.

What kind of open data would you like to see more of?

I would like to see information shared in a way that is easy to access and genuinely useful to support innovation. For example, by sharing our Travel to Work analysis on our online GIS mapping platform MapEssex, our insight is accessible to over 7,000 employees within Essex County Council as well as key partner organisations. This ensures that our strong evidence base delivers transport and infrastructure improvement and allows the possibility for opportunities to increase the take up of other forms of travel through targeted policies and strategies in the future.

What are you most looking forward to about the ODI Summit and Awards?

I’m looking forward to hearing from the other finalists and learning some new ways to develop the way in which we use open data in local government.

The awards will be held on 1 November 2016 at the BFI Southbank. Explore all nominees and finalists and follow #OpenDataAwards for updates on the night.