UK Prime Minster David Cameron, long known to be a keen iPad user, has volunteered to test drive a new app that helps aid his decision making and oversee the day-to-day affairs of government.
A description of the “Number 10 Dashboard” on BBC news says that “with a few swipes or taps of his fingers, he can see very quickly what important new information has come to light, how a certain government service is performing, and a selection of relevant and important news reports.”
The app was developed earlier this year, and Mr. Cameron has apparently been using it for some time, but details of it have only just emerged. The creators have designed it as a web-based app, which means that the prime minister can access it via any device or computer. Although the functions of the app are still being revised, it’s hoped that by next year, it will be made available to civil servants across Whitehall.
According to the BBC, the Cabinet Office confirmed that the Prime Minister was helping to test out a “data visualization platform to provide ministers and civil servants with information on key public services as well as other indicators”.
Alice Newton, of the Civil Service FastStream, which designed the app, revealed that the Prime Minister has been very helpful, making several recommendations on how to improve its functionality.
“He’s used it, given feedback on it to help improve it – and there is now great demand for it right across government,” she said.
“If you want to provide ministers and officials with information about performance of government, you can look at government data – but you can also look at data from the real world.
“All we’re doing is bringing government into line with what leading companies, big and small, have been doing for several years. It’s radical for government, but it’s not radical for 2012.”
Much of the data presented by the app is provided by Adzuna, a startup that monitors property and recruitment sites to track the UK’s housing and jobs markets.
Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, told the BBC that the main benefit of his service was that its data was delivered in real-time and covered both markets extensively. Besides Adzuna, the app also pulls data from a huge variety of other sources, said the BBC.
Perhaps the most telling endorsement of the app comes from David Cameron himself. According to Ms. Newton, the Prime Minister is reportedly so keen on the “Number 10 Dashboard” that he can’t wait to share it with Barack Obama when they meet at the next G8 summit.