This toolkit is designed to help people designing and delivering public services to overcome barriers to using data effectively.

We all rely on public services – from bin collections and road maintenance to schools and libraries. Local authorities provide essential citizen services but face the challenges of growing demand and limited resources.

The ODI Data ethics canvas

Using data well in public services can help streamline processes, improve access to information for citizens, and enable innovators.

At the ODI, we have worked with local authorities across the UK to find and showcase data-enabled innovation in local public services.

We found that local authorities face consistent challenges when trying to use data – from a lack of clarity about what data is available or evidence of the value, to concerns over the ethical implications of using data.

This toolkit aims to help people designing and delivering public services overcome these barriers. The tools are designed to be used collaboratively by all involved in services, not just people with technical skills.

Use the tools

Data and Public Services Toolkit: Guide

Data and Public Services Toolkit - English version

Data and Public Services Toolkit - German version

Data and Public Services Toolkit - French version

Data and Public Services Business Case Canvas

The Data and Public Services Business Case Canvas helps you to develop a business case for data-enabled public services. Advocate for the use of open data in your services by using this tool to create a business case that demonstrates how data can help deliver your organisational objectives and meet user needs in an innovative way.


Data Ethics Canvas

The Data Ethics Canvas helps you to identify potential ethical issues associated with a data project or activity. Use this to ensure that ethical – and legal – use of data is considered from the very beginning of your project, and throughout. It can feed into your business case for using data, or be used on its own.


Data Ecosystem mapping

Our guide to Data Ecosystem Mapping helps to identify and plan the technical and organisational relationships needed to deliver a service. Use this guide to bring different stakeholders together to understand the flow of value through your data ecosystem. This can inform your business case, and be a useful tool on its own for project planning and delivery.


Checklist: How to design at scale

As part of the ODI’s Scaling data innovation project, we are exploring how to help local data-enabled projects scale up or scale out.

Checklist: How to design to scale sets out barriers for scaling with data, and a checklist of things to consider in overcoming them.

How to use the toolkit