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01.10.04
New IT data warehouse providing easy access to millions of pieces of information about Cornwall

An exciting and innovative project which will, for the first time, provide a single point of access to a vast range of facts and figures on all aspects of life in Cornwall will be officially launched at the Headland Hotel in Newquay on Thursday, October 7th.

The LINC Project (Local Intelligence Network Cornwall) was set up to provide quick and easy access to up to date information and statistics about Cornwall for members of the public, businesses, councils and organisations. LINC is one of a number of similar such projects across the UK; it is currently one of the most developed and is being watched with interest by other authorities and by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister.

"All too often people have been forced to waste time phoning around lots of different authorities and visiting websites to gather the information they need," explained LINC Project Manager Ben Bolton. "The aim of LINC is to help people to unlock a huge range of information on Cornwall provided by all the main councils, public authorities and local agencies simply by clicking on a single source – www.linc4info.org.uk."

The project, with investment from Objective One, the South West RDA and a large number of local partners, including the County Council, District Councils, the Health Community and the Police, has involved setting up an IT data warehouse which contains millions of pieces of information supplied by all the partner organisations.

This includes population and migration statistics; information on the economy, including wages and labour market; transport and communications; housing; environment; health; crime; culture, social and welfare information; government and politics; skills and learning and climate change.

At present the Project is in its early stages, with the information only available to partner organisations, but the eventual aim is to provide access to members of the public, businesses and groups and organisations.

"The aim of the project is to make existing research and information more accessible," said Ben Bolton. "There is already a great amount of excellent research taking place in Cornwall – LINC will improve the way in which information is made available – whether you are a student, a researcher or just interested in Cornwall."

One enthusiastic supporter of LINC is John Berry, Managing Director of Cornwall Enterprise, who says that good quality up-to-date information is vital to forming economic policy and strategies and measuring success or failure.

"I hesitate to contradict Winston Churchill when he said that 'statistics are like a lamppost for a drunken man, more for support than illumination', but for Cornwall, and particularly Cornwall's economy, we need to know what everyone should be doing to improve matters and then understand what has been successful and what has not. It is only through such measurement that we can even approach the right answers," said Mr Berry.

"This is why, as the economic development and regeneration organisation for Cornwall, Cornwall Enterprise welcome the launch of LINC, to provide us and other partners with that local intelligence. At Cornwall Enterprise we have been advocates for such a service for a long time. We are particularly keen on the development of the basket of economic indicators, which will give all partners a snapshot of the current position and trends, influence future actions and policies and assess past interventions."

Supt John Tucker, of Devon and Cornwall Constabulary, supported Mr Berry's comments stating that: "Our ability access timely, accurate and relevant data is the key to successful problem solving and is essential to effective delivery of services in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. LINC will undoubtedly play an important part in meeting this need for data."

Rob Andrew, a Policy Development Manager at Cornwall County Council and also the Chair of the LINC Steering Group, added: "The potential of the LINC Project is even greater than I had initially imagined and the project will undoubtedly deliver significant benefits for anyone with an interest in Cornwall.

"As the project continues to gather momentum the future looks encouraging to say the least. The project has already delivered several success stories, including the development of an economic model for the Cornish economy and an online data warehouse."

The official launch of October 7th, which will be attended by representatives of all the partner organisations, will provide the first opportunity to see the data warehouse and other web based tools in action.

Guest speakers will include Cornwall County Council Chief Executive Peter Stethridge; David Lewis, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Economic Forum; John Beckett, Chair of North Cornwall Local Strategic Partnership, Phil Davies and Emma Smith, Project Amethyst; Sue Wolstenholme, Communication Manager for the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust and Rebecca Lyle, from the County Council's Research and Information Unit.

Cornwall County Councillor Bert Biscoe, the Executive Member for Corporate Support, said: "Apart from good shelter and roof over our heads, information lies at the core of human endeavour. Cornwall is full of bright prospects – we will only achieve our full potential if we collect, marshal and share good information well. LINC is a key part of tomorrow's economic infrastructure – literally the world at your fingertips!"

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Editor's notes:

The LINC project will be officially launched on Thursday, October 7th at the Headland Hotel, Newquay.

The best time for interviews will be over the lunchtime break at 12.30pm.

Further information is available from LINC Co-ordinator Ben Bolton on 01872 323556.

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Sue Wolstenholme
Objective One Communications
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01579 370991


lmroberts@cornwall.gov.uk

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