FAQ's FAQ's

1. What data will councils need to provide to use LG Sherlock?

LG Sherlock allows you to securely upload, store and analyse your council’s data, alongside that of other organisations, including commonwealth and state government data. The more data - both in volume and variety - that your council uploads into LG Sherlock, the more valuable the insights and learning your council will get in return. Even if your council currently doesn’t have much data, there is still plenty that you can take from the Sherlock Service

This data could include anything your council collects. Examples include:

  • Vehicle fleet information (procurement, fuel usage, vehicle maintenance and disposal)   
  • Community surveys, petitions and engagement outcomes
  • Land use planning (community engagement, planning applications and developments)
  • Tourism (attractions, airport landings, car parking, arts and culture event numbers)
  • Community development (population growth, homelessness statistics, heritage register and services locations)
  • Corporate management (financial, call centre enquiries and issues management, shared services, rates, property and insurance)
  • Economic development (sister city agreements, tenders, business licenses, planning and investment prospectuses)
  • Environmental management (habitats, conservation, asset management, noise pollution, waste and renewable energy)
  • Laws and enforcement (parking, illegal camping, food safety, planning and development)
  • Public health and safety (landslide hazards, flooding, early warning alerts, food complaints, reconstruction works)

2. What if we don't have complete data for all our services?

Based on research we conducted for our Digital Productivity Report, we know that some councils may not have complete data for all of their services, or may not feel confident with the quality of data they have and anticipate difficulties gaining access to it.  

Participating in LG Sherlock will provide you with the opportunity to build on your existing data and leverage data from other organisations, including the State and Federal Governments, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and more.

LG Sherlock’s expert data scientists will work with councils to coordinate your existing data for input into LG Sherlock, and to identify the opportunities that lie within the information you hold

3. How protected will our data be when entered into LG Sherlock?

Very protected. LG Sherlock is a highly-secure cloud-based solution that operates on Amazon Web Services.  Amazon is currently the world’s largest cloud data storage provider and is certified with the Australian Government’s Information Security Registered Assessors Program. 

In addition to the in-built security offered through Amazon, all access to and from the environment is tightly controlled, with security encryption and stringent identity access management rules.  These identity access rules are used to control who can use your data and what access level people will have to that data.

The data from each council will be stored separately and will not be merged or mixed, and only high-level, anonymous data will be used for analysis.

4. What about the privacy issues relating to the sharing of our data?

LG Sherlock will gather data from multiple sources, combining both public and private data from all tiers of government, as well as relevant non-government entities.  

The data will be anonymous:  both at the point of input and when outputted again from the system. 

As a user of LG Sherlock, your council will only have access to public data and the data your council has uploaded into the service.

5. Who owns the data once it has been put into LG Sherlock?

Your council will always own the data you input to LG Sherlock.  Your council will sign a data-sharing agreement with LGAQ before starting to use LG Sherlock. That agreement will outline how your data will be stored, the security around the data and how your data will be used in LG Sherlock.

6. Who else will have access to our data?

LG Sherlock will allow councils to securely contribute highlights of your data and to take shared insight and learning in return.

You get to choose which parts of the information you input into Sherlock will be made publicly accessible, and what is for the private use of your council only.

7. Can we still manage our own data for our own purposes while being involved in LG Sherlock at the same time?

Yes.  Councils can elect to upload all their data and reduce their own data storage costs, or just upload the parts of their data that they would like to use for analytics purposes.

LGAQ will work with councils to provide education and assistance around how to best manage their data.  This activity will also support those councils who wish to participate in LG Sherlock but are unsure how to take that first step

8. Will the data be anonymous and not attributed to any Council in particular?

Data from each council will be made anonymous prior to storage.  Once the data is entered into LG Sherlock, council data will be stored separately and will not be merged or mixed.  Unless specified by an individual council, all information outputted will be high-level data aggregations that will not allow private information to be identified.

9. Why is the development of this technology seen as a priority for members?

The rapid onset of technology continues to affect how we work and solve problems.  LGAQ decided to invest in and develop LG Sherlock after looking at existing concerns, demands, needs and wants of councils.  The 2015 Digital Productivity Report identified that 84% of councils believed they could use information to enhance their operations and provide better services to the community.  

Research with councils for our Digital Productivity Report also told us that:

  • Reducing costs remains highest priority for councils
  • A majority of councils are interested in advanced business analytics  
  • 69% of councils see technology as a driver of increased productivity

Through leading technology and data analytics, LG Sherlock will give councils unprecedented access to quality information that will help significantly reduce running costs, better manage risks and improve their operations and services to the community.

10. How is LG Sherlock going to help us manage risk within our organisations?

The risks that councils face today are becoming increasingly more complex, presenting them with new demands and challenges.  The insights and strengthened evidence-based decision-making offered through the large-scale data analytics of LG Sherlock will help councils manage:

  • Financial risk: save money through improved efficiency, productivity and innovation 
  • Reputational risk: serve your community better, smarter, sooner 
  • Operational risk: improve internal systems, processes and workflows

For example, it is widely appreciated that Australia’s population is ageing.  The Federal Government predicts that the number of Australians over the age of 65 will increase from 2.5 million in 2002, to 6.5 million in 2042.  While this topic has been well-researched and the large-scale implications of this ageing population are quite well known, your council will still benefit from improved understanding of the direct impacts this may have on your region.

Your council may already have a lot of data and while it can be difficult to know where to start, LG Sherlock will make it easier to get more value from the data you currently own. It will also add this information to a range of third-party datasets to allow your council to best plan and prepare for this challenge.  

LG Sherlock will also contain third party data that LGAQ has spent considerable resources acquiring for council consumption (i.e. visualizing open source Medicare and ABS data, combined with Queensland Government data that councils can access under data sharing agreements and memorandums of understanding).  The combination of this third-party data, alongside your council’s data, will allow you to baseline, trend and model challenges.  

While assessing its future plans for managing an ageing population, your council will be able to compare a wide-range of data relating to health (such as hospital usage and volumes, and emergency management), transport (road usage, road signage and public transport), urban planning and design, community services (libraries, community engagement, facilities, tourist attractions), environmental management, financial management (rates concessions and service delivery expenditure) and more.

11. What day-to-day challenges will LG Sherlock help us solve?

Councils offer a  very broad range of services. There are countless possible and relevant uses for the data contained within LG Sherlock, including everything from planning for an ageing population as detailed above, to reducing the cost of energy supply and water management, to managing complaints about barking dogs, to assisting your council to recover after natural disasters.

Comprehensive data insights will better inform decision-making and help improve service delivery in your community.  This could be across water, sewerage, waste operations, asset management, plant and equipment, workforce, regulatory functions, customer service, electricity consumption and more.

We’re confident that once you start using LG Sherlock to help inform your planning, you’ll find it an invaluable resource.

12. We already use our own data and analytics to solve problems and service delivery efficiencies in our community - why should we sign up to LG Sherlock?

LG Sherlock will take selected data from not only councils, but also other tiers of government and relevant non-government entities to enrich the data you may already hold.  This data will be securely stored and used for comparative analytics activities led by your council or LGAQ, to produce insights across a broad range of areas.  

LG Sherlock will allow councils to align with and learn from other councils across the state.  It will also provide you with a significant amount of additional data to help you reduce running costs and better manage risks well into the future.

Finally, LG Sherlock will provide a team of data analytics professionals to help your team gain maximum insights from the data and to look at its insights in new and unprecedented ways.

13. Our data is tailored to our community and/or region - how can LG Sherlock provide tailored and locally-relevant analytics when it is accessing data from across the state?

While all councils work differently and service different communities, the services and activities your council delivers have many similarities to the operations of others.  All councils have a lot they can learn from each other. 

The key aspects of big data is the quantity and variety of data being used.  There are currently thousands of disparate, council-owned datasets across the state. So while your council’s data may be locally-generated and specific to your region, LG Sherlock will be able to utilise that data to enhance Queensland’s local government-wide analytical and statistical power.

LG Sherlock will pool varied data from multiple sources and this will offer councils the ability to compare outcomes and validate models across sites or settings, and provide opportunities to develop new measures, opportunities or insights.

14. Our biggest issue is the sustainability of our council and the services we provide, against continually-rising costs. How can we justify the investment into LG Sherlock without the pressure to increase rates?

LGAQ is making this investment into LG Sherlock for the benefit of all members.  We identified a need and desire within councils to harness business analytics to improve services and contribute to financial sustainability.  

By developing LG Sherlock, LGAQ is providing councils with the opportunity to leverage leading technology without needing to build it themselves (i.e. avoiding development costs, the need to find your own experts or using your own resources).

Through LG Sherlock, we can help you proactively improve service delivery in the community, as well as give you the facts and figures you need to better communicate your achievements, improving the public perception of local government and the value ratepayers receive from your services.  Through helping councils to manage financial, operational and reputational risks, LG Sherlock will help councils demonstrate they are proactively saving money and thereby reducing the likelihood of increasing rates.

15. When would we start seeing a return on our investment of time and resources, which would be taken away from other council activities?

Placing an exact value on the costs and benefits that councils will receive from LG Sherlock is difficult, as all councils will embark on a different path to utilise the services offered by LGAQ.  

LGAQ has placed a huge importance on data analytics and has elected to fund the service at least until the end of 2018.  This funding includes the technology platform, the team of data analysists to assist you and several other resources that help your council start using the service.

To begin using LG Sherlock, your council will need an understanding of what data you hold and how to upload it so it can be used for analytics purposes. This is a task that LGAQ will assist you with.  

Once your council’s data is uploaded into LG Sherlock, your time and resource expenses will depend on what your council would like to achieve through the solution. 

16. Why should we funnel time, focus and energy to working with LG Sherlock when we have so many other competing priorities in our Council operations and services?

LG Sherlock is being developed to help councils and their teams deliver the best-possible outcomes to their communities. 

Making decisions informed by comprehensive data patterns in real-time provides councils the opportunity to develop predictive insights – what will happen – rather than rely on retrospective data based on what happened sometime in the past.  From determining where and how to schedule your asset maintenance to identifying the best location to build a new bridge, the application of LG Sherlock’s data insights is vast.  

These comprehensive data insights will inform your decisions and help improve service delivery in your community across water, sewerage, waste operations, asset management, plant and equipment, workforce, regulatory functions and more.  

Investing the time, focus and energy into working with LG Sherlock now will enable you to take advantage of operational efficiencies and improvements in the long-term, likely contributing to the successful resolution of other priorities you’re facing. 

17. How can we convince our community and stakeholders of the benefits of LG Sherlock?

LG Sherlock will help you service your community better.  Once you start seeing specific outcomes for your community from the data you’ll be able to access in LG Sherlock, there will be many ways in which you can illustrate these in your community engagement activities through case studies, stories and examples.  You’ll be able to clearly communicate your work and achievements more effectively and your community will have a clearer insight into what you’re doing and how it benefits them.

LGAQ will provide support through additional case studies, stories and examples to help you communicate the benefits of data analytics in delivering services to the community.

Technical and Resource Support Technical and Resource Support

18. What technical support and assistance will there be if we sign up to LG Sherlock?

To support councils with LG Sherlock, LGAQ will provide a series of materials and expert data scientists who will work with you to help you understand what the data means for your community and how you can best put it to use.

Our data scientists will help you coordinate your existing data for input into LG Sherlock’s ‘data lake’, and identify the opportunities within your information.  Data scientists can advise and assist in gathering data efficiently and effectively (assisting in collection systems/processes that can be set up to collect data in an automated way).  They will work closely with you to show how you can leverage LG Sherlock to solve specific problems in your community.

LG Sherlock will also contain a series of support materials to guide you through using the solution.  These materials will include user videos, fact sheets and instructional guides to assist your council’s adoption and use of the solution.

19. We do not have resources or staff to put towards gathering our data to input into LG Sherlock - can we still be involved?

Absolutely. Our data scientists will work with you to find a way to effectively and efficiently gather the data you already have and look at ways to collect more by tapping into the ways you already work.  While there will be some investment of time and resources from your team, we will work with you to find the best solution.

20. How will LG Sherlock add to our efficiency in operations without adding extra tasks and demands on our scarce resources?

While there may be some investment of time and resources in the beginning to identify and coordinate your existing data, the long-term efficiency and operational benefits should actually reduce the number of tasks and demands on your resources. 

Better data at your fingertips means better and faster decision-making for your community. Through access to unprecedented amounts of validated data across a range of council functions, LG Sherlock will empower decision-makers throughout your organisation to independently explore and analyse data insights to make decisions quicker.

Your teams will be able to solve both historical and future problems easily with validated data.  By providing access to sophisticated data, you can empower your people to do their jobs better, increase operational efficiencies and create real community impact.

21. How easy is it to use LG Sherlock? Will training be required?

We’re developing LG Sherlock to be user-friendly for all levels of staff in your organisation.  An easy-to-use dashboard will walk you through the service step-by-step.  LGAQ will also prepare a range of self-service training materials and will employ some experienced local government staff to spend time with your council to ensure you understand the opportunities LG Sherlock presents and how your council can unlock those opportunities.  

The LGAQ Annual Conference in October will be your first opportunity to see LG Sherlock in action - come to the LGAQ booth and take a hands-on tour to learn how it can benefit your council and your community.

22. Will there be a cost to any training?

LGAQ will fund the initial training to support your council’s adoption of LG Sherlock.  LGAQ will then provide your council with a series of training and support materials to assist with future training and education needs.

23. If no cost to training, would there be any limits on how often we would need training to compensate for staff turnover and changes?

The objective for LG Sherlock is for the services to be as self-serviceable as possible. As such, the design of LG Sherlock will be carefully developed with council users in mind. 

LGAQ appreciates that ongoing training will be required and this will be provided to councils at no cost into the future.  Having said this, the design of LG Sherlock will have a strong focus on self-service, simplicity and online collaboration.  To achieve this LG Sherlock will:

  • Develop a knowledge base that will offer users a range of online educational materials.  These will involve a range of videos, written and integrated information tools to assist you use the solution.
  • Ensure the solution design makes self-service a faster and more convenient option than traditional support avenues, such as email and phone support.  Of course, LG Sherlock will also offer email and phone support, for those users that prefer these communication channels.
  • Develop an online community where councils and the LGAQ can help and support each other with solution usability and analysis tasks, ensuring we all learn from each other.

24. We are a small council without many resources to put to this. How is it feasible for us to be involved?

Your council’s involvement in LG Sherlock doesn’t need to have a large resource impact.  LGAQ will assist your council in becoming involved and once you’re using the service, your ongoing involvement only needs to reflect what you want to get out of the service.

LG Sherlock Development LG Sherlock Development

25. How much is it costing LGAQ to develop LG Sherlock?

LGAQ intends to spend between $4.3 million and $6 million over the next two financial years, to build, deliver and maintain LG Sherlock.

26. Where is the funding coming from to build and run LG Sherlock?

LG Sherlock is being funded through surpluses in Local Government Mutual (LGM) Queensland.  Though a LGM and Local Government Workcare survey to all members, members indicated they would prefer the surplus funds be spend on additional risk-related services rather than returning a cash dividend to scheme members. 

27. How will the ongoing operation and maintenance of LG Sherlock be covered?

Like earlier, for similar business models such as LG Online, LGAQ believes it’s important that members have at least 12-18 months to utilise the service before they commit to ongoing annual fees.  It is hoped that from the middle of 2019, LG Sherlock would be generating revenues and be financially self-sustaining for LGAQ. 

28. What is the cost of signing up to LG Sherlock?

From the launch of the LG Sherlock service in early 2018 through to its final development stages in late 2018 to early 2019, LG Sherlock will be available for councils to access without cost.  LGAQ has incorporated this to ensure every council has the opportunity to access LG Sherlock and learn about how its data analytics can help in their everyday operations and service delivery.

From 2019, the LGAQ will be introducing a cost-effective subscription model to members.  This model will be developed in consultation with Councils during 2018 and LGAQ will keep Councils in the loop of developments. 

29. How does LG Sherlock actually work?

LG Sherlock is both a secure storage and an analysis service for your council’s data, allowing you to learn new things by looking at your existing data – along with the data of other organisations – in a new way.

At its most basic, LG Sherlock works in three steps:

  1. LGAQ will work with councils to educate on the benefits of data and assist with uploading data into a secure ‘data lake’. This can be all or part of your council’s data, the choice is yours.  Additionally, LGAQ will also work with other tiers of government and non-government entities to upload complementary data to enrich the information and assist with analysis.
  2. LG Sherlock will provide council users with an online portal.  This portal will allow councils to search, compare and filter a range of data, through an automated business intelligence tool.  Some of this data will be only available to your council, while other data will be open for all councils to see.  What data falls into these categories depends on your preference.
  3. LGAQ will work with councils to develop and manage a work program of data analytics projects.  Some of these projects may only be for a single council or a region of councils, while the large volume of these projects will be mutually beneficial to all participating LG Sherlock councils.  It is anticipated that subscribers to the service will have access to a library of case studies and reports to assist with decision making.

30. As members of LGAQ, were councils consulted about the development of LG Sherlock?

During the development of the 2015 Digital Productivity Report, LGAQ undertook a detailed survey of all 77 Councils, of which 66 councils responded.  Of the 66 survey respondents, 84% of councils believed they could use information to enhance their operations and provide better services to the community.  

In the 2017 Digital Productivity Report, 88% of councils report that they are not only collecting data, but it is a critical asset to council. But in the same report, 75% of councils believe skills is the main inhibitor for councils to go forward. 

As councils continue to generate and collect large volumes of data there is a need to develop clear systems and a way of gathering insights, otherwise they risk of being overloaded with information. 

LG Sherlocks helps provide the skills and structures.

31. When is the project due to be completed?

LGAQ currently intends to have LG Sherlock fully operational in early 2018 and will start working with councils from this point to support adoption of the service.  It is hoped that LG Sherlock will become a viable and heavily-utilised service that councils use well into the future. Once the solution is operable, the LG Sherlock project team will then work on a range of activities to mature the service.

32. What is the timeframe between providing our data and having access to solutions from LG Sherlock analytics?

As soon as your council starts uploading data into LG Sherlock you’ll be able to use the solution.  Your council will receive greater value from LG Sherlock based on the volume, depth and variety of data you upload into LG Sherlock.