Running the country? There’s an app for that

Barack Obama may be widely known as the “social media president,” but his British counterpart David Cameron is pretty technologically savvy too.

Mr Cameron has already admitted he’s a huge Angry Birds fan, saying he’s finished all levels of the ever-popular app. A senior adviser has also said he spends a “crazy, scary amount of time playing Fruit Ninja”.

But he’s also using all the latest gadgets and gizmos in his professional life. Now Downing Street insiders have confirmed the Prime Minister is trialling a mobile app to help him deal with day-to-day Government affairs.

The app has the working title of Number 10 Dashboard and has been developed by the Cabinet Office’s digital team to provide an at-a-glance view of work the Government is doing and how it is being perceived.

It pulls data from hundreds of sources, including Google, Twitter and Facebook. It shows information from all the latest polls which reveal how Britain feels about its Prime Minister and its Government.

Live statistics also flash up giving key figures on the latest unemployment and housing numbers, for example. The dashboard shows how much banks are lending to small businesses along with latest economic growth figures.

News of the app has come from a cabinet office website, which interviewed one of the digital developers who has been working on the new gizmo.

“The Number 10 dashboard was designed to give the Prime Minister, other Ministers, and senior Whitehall officials an at-a-glance overview of everything that’s happening in government and elsewhere,” says the site.

“The dashboard is an internet application which the Prime Minister views on his iPad. With a few taps or swipes of his fingers, he can see very quickly what important new information has come to light, how certain government services are performing, and a selection of relevant and important news reports.”

Alice Newton, one of the app developers, said Mr Cameron was particularly impressed with the “statistical side where we could give him quotable facts about what was going on.”

The fact that an app was being developed was first revealed earlier in the year, but details about how it works have been kept under wraps until now. We now know that it has been created as a web app, so it can be accessed on any device.

Some of the information that pops up on the app is supplied by Adzuna, a London-based firm which tracks the jobs and housing market. Co-founder Doug Monro said: “The benefits of using our data is that it’s right up-to-the-minute, real-time data about what’s happening in the market.”

She said Mr Cameron likes his new app so much, he is looking forward to showing it off to Barack Obama at the G8 summit.

A Government source said the new app should bring Downing Street into the modern age. “All we’re doing,” they said, “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.”

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