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LGA – Survey of Research Capacity in Local Authorities

by on 4 April, 2013

Click here for the full results from the LGA survey.

Analysis of Key Results:

Most respondents worked

  • Within a council.
  • In teams with generally small numbers of researchers, which meant they needed to have a good breadth of research knowledge and skills.
  • Based in a corporate or cross authority research team; researchers therefore need to have a good understand of the focus and functions of local government.
  • In Planning, Children services, or Economic Development teams (of those who were in a directorate/service area team). Children services and Development also came out top in terms of who researchers worked with in their organisations.
  • With staff in Corporate Performance Management.
  • With local authorities, public health, the police/criminal justice system, and the third sector.

What they did with their time (on average):

  • Over two thirds of their time conducting research and analysis.
  • Those working in the wider public sector spent more of their time conducting research and analysis than those working within councils.

Skills & Training:

  • Of those who specialised in certain areas (16%), it was mostly in market research, customer insight and/or Geographical Information Systems (GIS).
  • Managers generally thought they possessed adequate skills to carry out their roles, although of those who commission and manage research, nearly a quarter thought they lacked skills in evaluating tenders.
  • General research courses that could be run should include
    • Influencing and informing decision making
    • Online tools and techniques for visualising data
    • Using Geographical Information Systems
    • Publishing open data.
  • Many research managers suggested that their teams could offer training focused on data analysis to other public sector organisations.
  • Employers would be more likely to pay for one off training courses (for example, research seminars) than longer academic qualifications or releasing staff for secondments.

Most respondents are:

  • Well-qualified, aged 25-44, with an almost equal split between male & female.
  • Members of LARIA, with 10% members of BURISA/Royal Statistical Society.
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