It's not always easy embracing new technologies in a local authority setting, and open source software in particular poses some challenges. Across the apprenticeship scheme and the project we’re about to launch to do SSDA903 in-year data cleaning using Python, we’ve started bumping into IT colleagues at various LAs who have reservations about installing open source software like Python for children’s services analysts.
The IT service has a dual role: they have to enable employees with the tools needed for the job, but they also have to keep the network safe and secure for all users. It's not always easy to balance these priorities, especially with new ways of doing things, but it is important to do so: data manipulation, automation and analysis in open source tools like R or Python can open up new possibilities which dramatically enhance a data team's work.
Last month I met with James Rapkin at Southend Borough Council to discuss Southend’s open source journey, and we’ve developed that conversation into a case study which may be interesting, and indeed useful, if you’re trying to make a case locally for experimenting with new tools to support your work.