Yorkshire’s Covid-19 data

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Let’s be clear. At the best of times, local authorities provide and manage the infrastructure of modern life on slashed budgets. Then people blame them for everything.

In these worst of times, they are leading the fight against Covid-19 as well as still managing the infrastructure of modern life on slashed budgets and still get blamed for everything.

When it comes to track and trace, local public health efforts are massively outperforming the government’s privately-sourced Serco system (badged as NHS) in terms of the numbers they reach. The centralised government effort has now been all but abandoned in favour of these locally run systems. They know their communities. They know who lives there. Contrast this to central government where Matt Hancock doesn’t know the difference between Keighley and Kirklees.

This week, Calderdale Council launched its own contact tracing operation, where tracers would speak to people in person, rather than just over the phone. Other councils are busy doing likewise.

In the context of local lockdowns, it’s actually quite hard to find up-to-date data on infection rates and deaths in an area. This matters when businesses and organisations are trying to adjust to life with Covid-19. When rumours about lockdowns fly around, surely people should be able to click on reliable information to help them evaluate their local situation when making decisions.

So, Yorkshire Bylines has trawled the web for Yorkshire’s local authorities to see what data, if any, they offer on their website, Twitter and Facebook. The results are patchy, but have to be seen in the context of vastly reduced budgets and the massive responsibilities they face across all areas of our lives. The priority for a local authority is to give clear advice on what people should do and point the way to any support that might be available.

Also, we need to be clear on the difference between data and information. Data is the cold, hard numbers. Information is those numbers organised so as to make sense for citizens. Councils give out lots of the latter.

That said, some of the differences may surprise people.

Yorkshire Bylines has therefore produced its own user-friendly data dashboard with a set of links to accurate, up-to-date sources of data which will enable people to click on their local authority and find data without having to type in any additional information. Where councils provide the data themselves, we have used their figures (shown in bold). Where they didn’t appear to do so, we have used the gov.uk website. There may be slight differences between local authority and gov.uk figures, which are usually the result of doing the weekly count on different days.

AuthorityLink
BarnsleyNo data available on its website, Twitter or Facebook,
but gov.uk data on case numbers is HERE
BradfordNo data available on its website, Twitter or Facebook,
but gov.uk data on case numbers is HERE
CalderdaleCase data from the council website is HERE
DoncasterCase data from the council website is HERE
Data on number of deaths from its website is HERE
East RidingNo data available on its website, Twitter or Facebook,
but gov.uk data on case numbers is HERE
HullThe council has case data on its website HERE
(featured as a news item without graphs)
KirkleesThe council website has a link to gov.uk, with data HERE
LeedsNo data available on its website, Twitter or Facebook,
but gov.uk data on case numbers is HERE
North YorkshireNo data available on its website, Twitter or Facebook,
but gov.uk data on case numbers is HERE
RotherhamNo data available on its website, Twitter or Facebook,
but gov.uk data on case numbers is HERE
SheffieldData published by liginform is available HERE
WakefieldThe council website has data on case numbers and deaths available HERE
YorkNo data available on its website, Twitter or Facebook,
but gov.uk data on case numbers is HERE

For comparison, here are the national figures. And for additional cross-referencing, the BBC also offers a similar service where you have to type in a postcode. Another excellent source of data is the Local Government Association’s lginform website. This allows areas to be selected on a scroll-down, rather than having to type in a postcode. Finally, because we’re thorough, Yorkshire Live also publish the latest local figures on their site.

Here at Yorkshire Bylines, we are always trying to hold those in power to account with accurate reporting. Hopefully this set of data can help people in our region to live life better in a world with Covid-19.

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