The UK is a world leader on publishing open data and this data can be used by MPs to understand trends and inform their policies and campaigns. We explored some data sources that could be useful.
MPs currently use sources such as the Office for National Statistics and the House of Commons Library to inform their work, alongside local knowledge built up over time. Many more resources exist but most MPs do not know where to start.
Here are some data sources and tools that can be used by MPs’ offices:
Useful data tools:
We explored using Twitter data in more depth with a social media listening tool developed by Demos. We found that seeing trending topics at a constituency level requires more data than Twitter users currently provide. Combining Twitter and Facebook data could provide more powerful insight.
Steps to understanding data:
Potential next steps:
An example would be to combine social deprivation data from ONS with an export of postcodes from constituent casework. This can indicate which areas of a constituency are in need but not getting in contact with the MP.
To learn more about open data and analysis, try the Open Data Institute’s free e-learning modules.