Death to boring reports

Making boring council reports more exciting and easy to read using good visuals.

Me Submitted by Carrie Bishop
FutureGov Team Hack
What could FutureGov fix in a week?

People who work in councils produce boring reports for councillors to read. Cabinet and scrutiny reports are two of the worst examples. Members rarely have time to read and understand them, and often don't question the data or recommendations for fear of looking stupid. And yet they use these reports to make big decisions.

Let's make reports more interesting by changing the format. How would it look on an iPad? How would we better visualise tables of data so they were meaningful? How would we bring in the views of residents through things like videos, voxpops and social media?

Let's take an example boring report and make it way more interesting to show what can be done.

  • Claire Sidebottom
    10 Jul at 09:37

    I think this is a great idea - for councillors, council officers and the public. It'd definitely encourage more people to get involved and may liven up those long evenings in council chambers

  • Tom Barrett
    16 Jul at 13:03

    Yep, I'd love to see what the application of good design principles could do to council reports - particularly in terms of making the information available in multiple formats and enabling good debate

  • Pip Tucker
    13 Aug at 08:08

    We're looking at the format of committee reports/agendas/minutes - doing some good stuff in, potentially, producing them as full 5* linked data - but we've thought about it as reproducing current reports in a better way. This is a good prompt as we design the templates, as we do, elsewhere, at least try to get a bit of variety into how papers are presented.

  • Gareth Wall
    13 Aug at 13:02

    I'd love to see this too - not least as someone who's job involves writing and overseeing some of these reports. People who write them often agonise over how to be shorter, pithier, more focused (when to include photographs, how best to use video, etc) but also how to fully reflect the work that underpins them - that gives (or doesn't give) them credibility. Maybe a distinction to hang on to is between improving a "report" and improving how evidence and findings are presented. Doing away with reports altogether should be an option. Happy to share some of the thoughts and trials we've had doing this in in our borough at any time.

  • Laura Harper
    06 Dec at 22:03

    Yes please! Did you get this going?