As of 12 May 2017, the Neighbourhood Statistics and Data Explorer (beta) web services will close. The Neighbourhood Statistics website has been offering small area data for over a decade and at its launch was probably one of the most innovative government statistical services of its time. The Data Explorer (beta) played a significant role in disseminating the 2011 Censuses and aimed to provide a fuller role in disseminating data from the wider organisation too.
These tools offered greater flexibility for building custom data tables, interacting with data visually and mechanically serving data through application programming interfaces. We are proud of what these platforms have offered users over the years. However, we need to be pragmatic and look for leaner and more sustainable methods of providing these services in the future.
Also, continuing to offer our users several dissemination platforms to access our data is not helpful. Rationalising the number of services we provide will have benefits for our internal support teams but more importantly we recognise that users want us to simplify the journey to our statistical data.
To offset these closures, we are aiming to instead meet the needs of our users via continued development of our website. This will include the integration of data exploration functionality to form one consistent service. An Alpha version of this, showcasing the main functionality is being tested in March and April 2017 and a high fidelity Beta is in the pipeline for later in the year.
But this note is about the old guard, the tools that blazed the trail. The knowledge we gained about what it means to provide an online data service has been invaluable in the development of the new system.
So, thank you old friends.