Producing socio-economic statistics that can be disaggregated down to the lowest level of government and service delivery is currently a prohibitively expensive business. But what if local government itself was responsible for the collection of the data required to plan and allocate its own resources? What if local communities benefited directly from their own data? What if local data collection were to become a key vehicle for building trust between communities and local government? This session took the form of a collaborative discussion in which knowledge and experience from Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Malawi were shared.