Introducing Area and Ward Profiles: Empowering data-driven decisions

November 6, 2023

The Birmingham City Observatory provides data and insight for our city – a single source of truth to support collaboration and innovation among partners across and beyond our city.

In May 2023, we launched Ward Profiles which combined data from a wide range of sources to provide detail about a range of topics, such as population demographics, unemployment, deprivation, location of warm welcome and foodbanks, housing, health, and education. This analysis provides up-to-date, fine granular detail, about our wards and neighbourhoods.  

Councillors, partners, charities, and citizens across the city are utilising these profiles to drive data informed decisions and help shape the lives of Birmingham citizens.

Today, we are thrilled to unveil the next evolution in this endeavour Birmingham Area and Ward Profiles.

Screenshot showing the landing page for the new area profiles

Let's explore what's new:

1. One ward, two wards, three wards, more!

Our online, interactive profiles have been a great tool for comparing different wards, but we always felt we could take it a step further. That is why we have introduced the ability to select any combination of wards or entire areas such as East or West Birmingham.

On the front page, you can search for your desired ward and simply select it to build a profile of your chosen area. It is that easy! You can also switch between wards or areas effortlessly by using the area selector at the top of every page. And if you would like to select multiple wards to create your own area profile, just hold down the CTRL key while clicking on your choices. This streamlines the process of building a picture of an area, saving you time and resources.

New selection tool to make multiple ward selections


2. Postcode Lookup Tool

To make it even more convenient, we have added a Postcode Lookup tool on the front page. If you are unsure about your ward or area, simply enter your postcode (without spaces) into the popup, and we will provide the information you need.

Postcode search tool


3. More unemployment data and narrative

Previously, our unemployment benefit data only covered 12 months. Now, we have extended the charts to include 48 months of data. Vertical markers have also been added to highlight key points in time, such as COVID lockdowns and business reopening. This visual representation helps you understand the fluctuations at a glance, emphasizing the ongoing impact of COVID on Birmingham and its wards. Powered by Nomis data, this feature is automatically updated monthly as the new data is released.

Graph showing unemployment in the selected area


4. Take a peek into the housing team window with real-time insights

In the top right corner of every page, you'll find a card displaying the last time the data for that particular page was updated.

Image showing the last time the chosen dataset was updated


Some may show a date more recent than others. One such dataset is that from our colleagues in our housing team that powers the Council Owned Housing Stock and Council Owned Sheltered Housing pages.

We have transitioned from annual internal data updates to real-time data from our housing team, provided weekly through a new Power BI dataflow. As a result, the Area Profiles are now updated every week with the exact same data available to our housing team, ensuring you always have the most up-to-date council owned housing information at your fingertips. Stay tuned for more real-time updates across the report.


5. A Fresh Look and Now Even More Accessible

We have given the entire report a makeover in line with our Be Bold branding, led by our award-winning marketing team. This transformation also includes visual enhancements and a complete re-think of the tab order to dramatically improve accessibility.


6. Continuous Improvements

For a detailed list of changes with each update, visit the Help & Support page within the report to peruse the full Release Notes.


Click here to view our new Birmingham Area and Ward Profiles!

Your Feedback Shapes the Future

We trust that you will find even more value in the latest generation of Area and Ward Profiles. Nevertheless, we are always eager to hear your feedback. If you have questions, thoughts, or comments, please do not hesitate to email us at We are committed to regularly updating the profiles with additional suggestions and datasets to better serve you. Together, we can continue to make data-driven decisions that positively impact our city and its residents.


Author: Danny O'Neill - Birmingham City Observatory