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Making Data Open- Birmingham City Council's City Observatory

Birmingham City Council (BCC), despite being Europe's Largest Local Authority, faced challenges in strategic insight generation and lacked a dedicated strategy and policy team. Moreover, the absence of useful data publication and non-compliance with open data and transparency standards were hindering progress. In response, Impera, under the guidance of the Corporate Director of Strategy, Equalities & Partnerships, was engaged to lead the design and recruitment of an integrated Insight, Policy & Strategy (IPS) Team and to implement a new open data platform, the "City Observatory."

The objectives were:

  1. Lead the design and recruitment of the IPS Team within the Strategy, Equalities & Partnerships Directorate.

  2. Design and implement a new open data platform, branded as the "City Observatory."

Impera executed a comprehensive strategy to address the challenges:

  1. IPS Team Design:

    • Designed the IPS team structure, defining roles and job descriptions.

    • Developed and delivered an IPS Business Plan outlining strategic objectives.

  2. Team Recruitment:

    • Successfully recruited a brand-new team of 9 analysts with varying levels of seniority and experience.

  3. Open Data Platform Implementation:


  • Introduced new capacity and capability into the organization through the IPS Team.

  • Shared knowledge and skills with the IPS Team, fostering collaboration and upskilling.​

  • The City Observatory platform garnered significant attention, reaching 100,000 views within the first 12 months of its launch.

  • Attracted approximately 1,300 new visitors per month, indicating strong ongoing engagement.

Birmingham City Council unveils open data platform | UKAuthority

Impera's intervention not only addressed BCC's immediate challenges but revolutionized the way insights were generated and shared. The successful design and implementation of the IPS Team and the City Observatory platform showcase Impera's ability to drive positive change through strategic data initiatives. This case study serves as a testament to the transformative impact of embracing open data and transparency in municipal governance.

Birmingham and Impera
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