Automated reports can now be generated at the click of a button to access municipal fact sheets, municipal technical reports, legislation reports and methodology reports.This is thanks to the newly-launched Municipal Barometer introduced by Xolile George, chief executive officer of the South African Local Government Association (Salga), in an effort to address the limited availability of and access to local level data.The barometer, which was identified by Thotoane Shale, communication and marketing officer, as a web-based portal, will save municipalities the costs of obtaining data and providing such data from a single point in a coordinated manner.The newly-launched innovation will collect, package and disseminate local governance and development information to municipalities and stakeholders. Shale added that the barometer was fully functional and tracked nine thematic areas, which were populated with information that was drilled down to ward level.“The barometer will, among other things, aid informed conversations and help support communication messages with reliable data and accurate, factual and readily-available information,” said Shale. “It will reflect the profiles of all municipalities and can be used as a benchmarking tool in the four performance areas of service delivery, integrated development planning, municipal finance and human resources.” He added that the tool benchmarked municipalities’ own performance, or weighed it up against each other using trend data. It identifies the areas in which municipalities are struggling and indicates success stories. It is also reported to provide the geographic information system view of municipalities. It can be used as a data bank for the comparison of data sets, which provides raw statistics and addresses fragmentation issues.According Shale, municipalities and stakeholders will be able to access the Municipal Barometer through the Salga website.