Shock: Council dumps data wad - doesn't break any laws

Everything you wanted to know about Surrey, but were afraid to search

Surrey county council has launched a website which brings together a wide range of information on the area.

Named Surrey-i, the local authority said that the website will provide residents with data on issues such as roads covered by gritting trucks in severe winter weather, care homes offering places for the elderly and crime rates on local streets.

Peter Martin, deputy leader of the council, told GGC that the local authority holds large amounts of information and that it was right to share it with residents.

"It's all about transparency. We want to make as much information available to the public as they want. So for example, if you've just moved to Surrey you'll be able to see where the nearest schools are and so on," he said. "In a sense it's like a Wikipedia for Surrey."

The website has a built-in map, and by entering their postcode residents can find services and facilities in their community. These include the nearest schools and libraries, as well as information on local doctors, hospitals, charities and councillors. Other features will allow people to find their closest railway station, bus stop, dentist or beauty spot.

The site was soft launched in September on a restricted basis, but is now fully available to everyone. Martin said that the project is ongoing and will continue to evolve. He revealed that if there is an appetite for it, people may be able to have the service as an app on their mobile phones in future.

"But we're just at the experimental stage at the moment, so we'll monitor and track what people say about the service," he added.

Martin said that people trying to provide services in the area will also find the tool useful as there will be data for businesses to access, such as workforce skills, the county's economic performance and the success start-ups.

The site was developed by the council on behalf of the Surrey strategic partnership, which includes the local authority, borough and district councils, the Surrey County Association of Parish Town Councils, Surrey police, NHS Surrey and the voluntary and business sectors. As part of the launch, the council is also tweeting a fact an hour from the website during this week.

Surrey council said that other public bodies like the health service and police are already using the website to help them plan more integrated services and target their resources better. The council is currently using the website as part of a review of buildings which aims to make sure they continue to be in the right location to provide the best services for residents.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

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