Case Study - Blue Cross
Becky Thwaites, Head of Public Affairs and Anna Wade, Public Affairs Officer
Tell me about your campaign and what data you decided to collect?
Our campaign is focused on the enforcement of pet welfare legislation across the UK. We looked at local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales to find out how well they were performing in licensing of dog breeders and pet shops, in investigating problems at pet shops, and how effective they were at having a decent dog warden service.
How did you go about collating that data?
Freedom of Information requests to local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales, as well as a survey. We also tasked volunteers with looking at local authority websites to find out what information they held. And we looked at classified advertising websites to work out potential illegal activity.
What problems did you encounter when coming to use/display the data?
We couldn’t figure out a way to make the data easily accessible. We had so much data, we were struggling to figure out how to display it. We looked at making a map ourselves and realised that wasn’t going to happen.
We also had the issue that you never know what a politician is going to find interesting. The easiest thing was to have all the information ready so we could show them the bit they found interesting, but with the number of meetings we have this would have involved a large amount of preparation work.
What made you decide to use PoliMapper for visualising the data?
It was exactly what we were looking for. We saw the Joseph Rowntree Foundation using it and realised it would save us a lot of time and make our meetings more productive. There was no one in animal welfare using it, so it was great to be the first.
The data totally lends itself to maps. Both on a local and national level there were patterns to show. All round PoliMapper is a great way of displaying our data, and crucially means all that research and work we did hasn’t been ignored.
How have you been using PoliMapper since signing up?
We have mainly used it at meetings. We had more than 150 individual meetings with politicians in 2017 and we used it every single time. We would show them the national picture, and then drill down into what is going on in their constituency. We would then follow up by sending them a link so they can compare them to other similar local authorities.
Being able to show local data means we have had much more positive meetings, with positive outcomes. MPs have followed up with press releases and used our data in them.
Parliamentary questions have been put down, and at least one debate was arranged off the back of meetings where we used PoliMapper.
By using PoliMapper, politicians genuinely believe you’ve gone the extra mile to show them local data. It’s an easy win.
How has PoliMapper changed the way you plan for meetings with political stakeholders?
It has saved us hugely on time. We’re a team of two, up against much bigger teams. Now when we have a meeting all we need to do beforehand is check the local authority has given us the relevant data.
Would you recommend PoliMapper to other organisations?
Yes we definitely would. We see ourselves using it on an ongoing basis. Now, when we’re planning campaign, we do so with PoliMapper in mind – always trying to find an angle where we can use it.