David Cameron trialling 'Number 10 Dashboard' app to help with government decisions

A new app aimed at providing politicians and other government officials with streamlined access to relevant information is currently being trialled ahead of an expected 2013 rollout – by none other than Prime Minister David Cameron himself.

South London-based start-up Adzuna, which specialises in aggregating online data via a vertical search engine, has produced the programme, codenamed "Number 10 dashboard."

The software, currently in beta stage, gives the PM at-a-glance access to a range of real-time and location-specific data, like statistics on employment and housing, as well as offering 'public mood' insight gleamed from social media.

In other words, rather than relying on aides to compile dossiers ahead of political engagements - which carries the risk of both human error and of information being outdated by the time it is presented - Adzuna's system utilises an advanced web crawler programme that draws on a range of third-party sources, like Google for search trends and YouGov for data, as well as compressing important social network activity.

"As part of the reform agenda, the Cabinet Office has started work on a data virtualisation dashboard for government departments, providing ministers and civil servants with better information on key public services," said a Cabinet Office representative, as originally quoted in the FT.

"This will aid better decision-making in government," the government spokesperson added.

However, not everyone is totally convinced by the initiative, with some people fearing that the project could potentially lead to a policy-by-hashtag scenario.

"Trending topics is hardly a way to govern a country," said Dominic Campbell, founder of FutureGov, according to the BBC.

"If it's reliable, it's through some kind of miracle. I don't the benefit for [David Cameron] personally. What's he going to do with it? He's a figurehead politician who's just going to use it for speeches," Mr Campbell continued.

Whatever the case, confirmation of the app's development - and its deployment at the highest level of government - represents a major coup for Adzuna, which was founded in April 2011 by former Gumtree execs and employs just 12 people.

Other recent technology-based government proposals include a controversial plan to allow citizens to utilise existing online accounts to log-in to public services portals - meaning the likes of Facebook could soon be acting as gatekeeper over vast pools of sensitive data.