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A 12 week proof of concept has a strong focus on research and user research has shaped our thinking along the way. Countless conversations with many people have been the cornerstone of the discovery. We’ve learned a tremendous amount and know we have only just started. The data platform has the potential to bring many improvements to public services in Wales. To inform the prototypes and models we’ve built we’ve considered:

  • who builds public services in Wales
  • what do they want from a data platform/do they need a data platform
  • and how will they use it

The consultation on a variation of land transaction tax rates for second homes is aimed at changing behaviour. To help people make informed decisions we need to consider how and when they will access information and what information motivates them.

Who, what, when, where and why?

We identified three categories of users we wanted to speak to:

  • Service design teams – people who build public facing services and would potentially use a data platform. What do they have problems with, what do they need, how would they use a data platform, and how would they use it?
  • Citizen – How could we present the platform to the citizen or the information in it to help them make informed decisions? What did they consider, where do they look, and what do they already know?
  • Analysts and researchers – What would make them use a data platform, where do they currently lack insight and visibility in terms of data, what problems or opportunities could the platform help solve?

We have a lot more to learn

We need to speak to more people! As we move into the next phase we will continue to work in the open and continue to speak to as many stakeholders as possible. We will speak to more users and refine further user research this is also a shout out if you’re reading this and think you may have some skin in the game – get in touch!

Hot takes


  • All buyers stated that money was an important factor when purchasing a property, however landlords had extra considerations and complexities to consider when deciding whether a property was a worthwhile investment.
  • Residential home buyers expressed more of an interest in the property specifics such as floorplan, photos, local area and amenities such as schools and shops.
  • All participants favoured online tools in the exploratory stages of their property buying journey, with physical visits occurring once one or two specific properties had been selected
  • Most residential buyers and landlords had not used the official LTT calculator or any LTT calculator as part of the house buying process. These buyers accepted that tax was an inherent part of the purchase process and expected their solicitor or conveyancer to explain any tax implications and handle the relevant paperwork
  • All participants recognised that there was a tax difference between the houses in the different tax zones. All participants asserted that one property would cost more due to localised land tax and one property would cost less. Most participants were not clear on why there was a tax difference between the two zones

Analysts and service delivery teams:

  • What must the platform offer to be trusted
  • Ensure data is accurate, not incomplete or out of date
  • Provide “big picture” insights not currently available elsewhere
  • Make data accessible, useful and quick to access
  • Make data sets easy to consume and understand

What basic technological requirements need to be met for the platform to be successful:

  • Provide multiple ways for users to interact with the platform (API and UI)
  • Platform must be secure
  • Platform must provide easy to understand API documentation
  • Data provided through the API should be in common formats i.e. JSON / Geo-JSON
  • Enable data streaming

What basic technological requirements need to be met for the platform to be used effectively by service delivery teams:

  • Frictionless, or as little friction as possible to access to the API before committing to use it
  • List of supported code libraries
  • A swagger page describing the rules, specification and format for a REST API
  • Performance information so that developers can be reassured that the API is reliable
  • Sample data sets via the API if real data requires registration