LGA data experts grants support better use of local data mini projects

Note the content of this article is also available as a pdf download here.

During late autumn 2016 the Local Government Association launched a small pilot project to encourage closer and shared working with data experts by local authorities in the development and implementation of their information management strategies. This work forms part of the organisation’s “data and digital” programme and seeks to encourage local service providers to make better use of their data.

Modest grant funding was made available for local authorities to present proposals to develop projects involving team working to improve their data practices. It is hoped that the projects will encourage local authorities (working individually or in partnerships) to involve data experts to guide and evolve their strategies.

The grants could not be used for capital purchases or direct software development or licence purchase. However, they were available to commission the support of data experts to guide, challenge and develop data practices. The funding could also be used (if appropriate) for events, hack days, brainstorming sessions and backfill to release key staff to focus on data activities.

The call for proposals was published in October 2016 and decisions on successful bids were concluded in December 2016. This initiative is considered a pilot to determine the interest and potential for this form of working in the future. It was intended that around five or six projects might be possible, drawing on grants up to a maximum of £10,000 to support closer involvement of data expertise in local government data practices.

The scope of proposed activities and subject areas was left intentionally flexible and wide ranging in the brief in order to identify what ideas might be being considered in the sector. However, it was hoped that activites might focus on aspects such as governance, quality management, data preparation and analytics, data publishing, data sharing and re-use within councils and between organisations and the general public.

Some 54 proposals were received. These came from the following: County Councils 9, District Councils 12, Unitary Councils 12, London Boroughs 9, and Metropolitan District Councils 12. The geographical spread covered all England as follows: East 7, East Midlands 7, London 9, North East 2, North West 7, South East 7, South West 5, West Midlands 5, Yorkshire & Humber 5.

After a systematic review process and to fit in with available budgets, some six proposals were successful and authorised to proceed to mini projects. These are summarised below:

Lead

Project Area

Leeds City Council

Share the experience and learning assembled through the creation of the Data Mill North open data portal with other local authorities and support increased publishing of open data by these councils using Data Mill North techniques.  Promote the availability of Data Mill North content with the wider developer and user community through briefings and hack days.

Essex County Council

Review the vision and strategy of the Essex Data: Platform (ED: P) programme with independent data experts. This is an innovative initiative to transform the way data is shared and used across all public service organisations in Essex and aims to encourage wider data re-use and predictive analytics. Work also considers the many aspects of data sharing across organisations from technical, procedural and legal perspectives.

Calderdale Metropolitan District Council

Working with all councils in Yorkshire and Humber region to develop a consistent approach to the preparation and publishing of self-assessment materials for Ofsted on children’s services.  Efficiency savings, wider examination across the whole region and (potentially) a model for nation take-up is the vision.

Ashfield District Council

Introduce improved geographical and spatial context to the data in use in the council and subsequently published openly for Ashfield citizens.  Call upon developer and data designer experts to transfer their knowledge to local authority staff to underpin an improved data model within corporate systems and sustained release of open data using the council’s own resources.

Chorley Borough Council

Work with local academic staff and partner providers of local services in north west region (from other councils, health and voluntary sector) to prepare and publish open data about health and well-being services.  This work underpins a wider local government initiative in which a generic standard for online information about all locally delivered services is in preparation with the potential for apps to emerge that discover and present appropriate services that meet the needs of citizens based upon their circumstances and aspirations, irrespective of where they live.

Leicester City Council

Working with local delivery partners in the blue light emergency services and voluntary sector to collect and analyse the causes and sources of repeated use of blue light services by the same individuals.  Follow-up strategies to predict other hot-spots for this issue and support services to teach and encourage repeat offenders in other ways to resolve their issues./p>

Bath and NE Somerset Council

Focusing on the data that underpins the delivery of services in support of people with Special Educational Needs and Disability and Learning Disabilities from early years into adult services. Calling upon local data expert academics to work with council staff t identify appropriate data, test its quality and suitability and develop data analysis processes to understand the causal factors behind the increases in demand for these services which has been noticeable in the recent past.

West Sussex County Council

Start a pilot network (through online communications and possible local events) for data managers in the public sector.  Providing means for sharing ideas, issues and up-to-date information on activities, regulations and solutions.  This will likely start locally but, if successful, is a candidate for wider rollout nationally by other groups in future months.

More detailed background and the strategies proposed now follows.

  1. Leeds City Council

Project title: Collaborating across the North

Contact: Stephen Blackburn

Lead accountable organisation: Leeds City Council

Partner organisations that will be working together:

Leeds City Council, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, Open Data Institute, Leeds, Durham Council, Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council, Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council

Data Expert or Expert Team: Data Mill North team based in Leeds City Council

Amount of grant requested: £10,000

Background

The project is concerned with promoting the Data Mill North repository as a platform for other local authorities to take advantage of publishing their open data. It also focuses on the running of an Innovation Lab as a delivery vehicle to facilitate the publication of new datasets and to create new and innovative products and services which benefit citizens and communities across the North of England.

Initial work will outline a brief to identify common problems or issues affecting citizens and communities in all of the participating local authority areas. Councils will work along a nine month pathway from identification and publication of data to testing of a new product or service in a real-life environment.

Participating authorities will work towards publishing the same data in the same formats to enable developers, analysts and technologists to easily merge and compare data between different areas. Datasets will be published to standards based on previously released LGA schemas and include fields such as Organisation Labels, Extract Dates and URI links.

Best practice will be shared throughout the project to ensure all benefit from working collaboratively. Leeds City Council will act as the lead authority in co-ordinating the project, facilitating publication of datasets and organising the Innovation Lab.

 

Summary of Project to be delivered

This project is in two parts:

1. Provide an offer to local authorities across the North of England to access and use the Data Mill North open data repository, and for Leeds City Council to offer support to partnering authorities with help in identifying and publishing datasets;

2. Host two simultaneous Innovations Labs to enable collaborative working to co-produce new and innovative services using new published datasets.

Part 1 builds on the foundations already laid to promote Data Mill North as the best open data platform in the North of England. To promote a collaborative approach to working, Leeds Data Mill was rebranded to Data Mill North in August 2016.

Part 2 will be new work based on the successful Urban Sustainable Development Labs (Innovation Labs) approach to innovation which has been devised and trialled in Leeds. Service users, providers and technologists are brought together for a day of collaboration to create new apps, websites or provide insight to a problem/issue identified in an initial brief using newly published open data. It is intended that the Lab will be held in two separate locations drawing on local expertise. Regular Skype calls between the locations will be conducted throughout the day to share progress. Post-Lab discussions will take place between all participating authorities to ascertain which of the ideas are worthy of further investment and taken forward to a stage where they can be tested in a real-life environment.

The project will enable participants to form part of a network of publishers and get involved in publishing new data and work together towards common outcomes. Participants will be encouraged to work with other organisations in their localities, identify more datasets and continue the collaborative working approach after the project has completed. Leeds City Council has devised some simple Terms of Use which can be re-used by Data Mill North partnering local authorities to sign up other local organisations in their areas.

  1. Essex County Council

Project title: Essex Data: Platform (ED: P)

Contact: Liz Ridler

Lead accountable organisation: Essex County Council

Partner organisations that will be working together: All public sector organisations in Essex including County, District and Borough Local Authorities, Health, Police, Fire and Voluntary Service organisations.

Data Expert or Expert Team: Nicola Underdown, Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing

Amount of grant requested: £10,000

Background

The Essex Data: Platform (ED: P) is a project sponsored by the Essex Partnership Board and is part of enabling a change in how public service organisations work together in Essex.

Designed to radically transform the way data is shared and used across all public service organisations in Essex, this ambitious and ground breaking project will provide a way to share and match data safely so that it can be used for predictive analytics. The risk models produced will provide additional insight to enable the most challenging issues to be tackled through intelligent commissioning, resulting in the delivery of services in a targeted and efficient way, supporting the shift to early intervention and prevention and better outcomes for local people.

This LGA bid is for expert support, from the Centre of Excellence for Information Sharing (CoEIS), to

  • Embed learning associated with the process, governance and culture of data sharing gained so far from ED: P
  • Develop understanding of the issues and potential of a pseudonymised versus individual level approach to data analysis, and
  • Develop understanding of how ED: P can be grown and sustained within the partnership environment to ensure maximum return on investment and value to public service delivery.

Summary of Project to be delivered

The ED: P project is underway but in its infancy. A data sharing and risk analytics software platform was procured in July 2016. The project implementation is structured around the delivery of defined prototypes, currently 3 are planned, to enable proof of concept to be established. We are currently inputting the data for prototype 1 into the tool and scoping prototypes 2 and 3.

From the evidence, learning and early engagement generated through the prototypes, the aim is for the use of ED: P to be scaled up to become a central enabler in the way complex issues are understood and tackled in Essex.

Data experts will provide external challenge to the prototyping phase so that the proof of concepts generated are as robust as they can be. We believe that a strong proof of concept, alongside the right communication and engagement with partners and leaders will lead to a ‘viral’ growth in use of the tool and a change in the way we share and use data in Essex.

Note on Prototypes.

The first prototype focuses on the question ‘Which children in Vange ward Basildon are more likely to not be 'school ready' when they begin school?’

Data sets identified as potential impacting variables are:

Children’s Social Care – ECC

Youth Offending – ECC

Drug and Alcohol Misuse – ECC

Police and crime – Essex Police

Housing and Benefits – Basildon Borough Council

Health Visitors – North East London Foundation Trust

Adult Mental Health – South Essex Mental Health Services

The data sets will be used to build a risk model using the procured software platform during Jan- March 2017. This will then be used to inform (alongside other information) a commissioning plan for interventions in Vange with the aim of increasing school readiness figures. School readiness is a predictor of many other social issues and therefore by increasing rates of school readiness we are aiming to prevent the development of other systemic issues.

Prototypes 2 and 3 are currently being developed. The areas of focus will be young people at risk from Domestic Abuse and entry into the social care system. During the Jan- March 2017, the period of the Data Expert Programme, we will be identifying data sets and agreeing Information Sharing Protocols with partners involved in prototype 2 and 3

  1. Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council

Project title: Self Assessment for Children’s Services Inspection

Contact : Andrew Ramsay & Graham Mozley

Lead accountable organisation: Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council

Partner organisations that will be working together: Yorkshire & Humber ADCS Performance & Information Managers Group; ADCS Standards, Performance & Inspection Committee; Ofsted

Data Expert or Expert Team: Carole Brookes Associates

Amount of grant requested: £10,000

Background

Ofsted has incorporated the principal of Local Authority Self-Assessment (SA), within the next iteration of Children’s Services inspection model, i.e. post Safeguarding Inspection Framework (SIF). The SA is expected to be completed on an annual basis and submitted to Ofsted as part of its intelligence gathering, to direct proportionate inspection activity. Ofsted has undertaken a public consultation with the sector, and in doing so in its discussions with the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS), through the Standards, Performance & Inspection, SPI, Committee it was clear that it would not prescribe its own template to undertake such self-assessment. Thus, the sector is responsible for developing its own model. The risk would be authorities each devising their own model and template. Potentially, this would present an inconsistent approach of SAs of varying quality and transparency. Calderdale and Yorkshire & Humber ADCS would like to take a lead to propose, develop and offer a self-assessment model which would meet the needs of both authorities and Ofsted.

Calderdale chairs the ADCS Performance & Information Managers Group (PIMG) and has the link Director of Children’s Services for Y&H Sector Led Improvement (SLI). Over several years, Y&H PIMG has developed a successful and embedded self-assessment process used by all fifteen LA’s in the region, as part of the wider sector led improvement activity. The established process sees all LA’s develop a SA, which is triangulated against a regional data profile tool, and submitted for challenge at a designated Challenge Day where the fifteen LA’s provide critical friend challenge to test the validity and value of the LA’s SA. The current service-wide SA needs reviewing and adapting in line with Ofsted’s newly proposed specific children’s safeguarding and ‘front door’ service SA. Any template developed here will have relevance and applicability on a national basis which can be explored through our links with ADCS SPI Committee.

 

Summary of Project to be delivered

The Ofsted required SA is mandatory and will be used to inform proportionate inspection activity and hence it is not just a Calderdale nor Yorkshire & Humber issue but a national one. Without this activity a number of variations will emerge leading to confusion within the sector and issues for Ofsted with regards to consistency and coverage.

Whilst the concept of a front door specific self-assessment is new it will build and fit well upon existing local and regional work and utilise established relationships. Yorkshire & Humber SLI for 2016-17 is well underway with this year’s Sector Led Improvement (SLI) process Challenge Day being on January 6th 2017 in Sheffield, where the established service wide SA has been completed by all 15 LA’s. A Summit day to discuss LA and regional trends, patterns and emerging themes in March will be the point at which we look forward to the 2017-18 process, in light of Ofsted’s proposed post SIF inspection model.

Utilising the input of the data expert in liaison with the Y&H Directors of Children’s Services Group and the Y&H PIMG will allow us to develop together a focussed, sector liaised product that is meaningful and relevant for LA’s as well as Ofsted. It will also be linked directly to an associated suite of “front door” key performance indicators to give it an evidence base. The deep and relevant sector-led experience of the consultant in this general area of self-assessment plus her experience of delivery to the sector via ADCS and RIP will be invaluable in helping to ensure the LA’s and Ofsted’s needs are balanced and met.

By providing a template model that will have been tried and tested both at a local, Calderdale, and regional Y&H level will be invaluable in terms of sharing this best practise with the sector upon a national basis through the ADCS SPI Committee. It will also offer Ofsted the confidence of a product that the sector has developed itself. This will provide consistency and coverage for their needs.

  1. Ashfield District Council

Project title: Ashfield District Council Digital Data Management and Dissemination Project

Contact: Gillian Bradley

Lead accountable organisation: Ashfield District Council ·

Partner organisations that will be working together: Ashfield District Council, private sector experts on the areas of FME, WMS & WFS services, PostGIS, Geoserver, APl's

Data expert or Expert Team: being sought

Amount of grant requested: £8,000

Background

The push to release data to the public has been increasingly important in terms of transparency and accountability, as well as to improve efficiency such as the reduction of staff time spent on FOI and El requests. We are in the process of moving all our data to a spatial database and away from networked files to make the data more accessible across the council and enable better use of open source software such as QGis. Our understanding of spatial databases is growing, we have had exposure to both Geoserver and PostGIS, however, we still have much to learn before we start to see the benefits of open data.

The aim of our project is to make as much data available and accessible across the council via GIS mapping intranet and available for the public to view and access in a machine readable format on the website. This Is in line with the council's aims for transparency and enabling 'self-service', both internally and externally. Some data, dependent on licensing, could also be downloadable as spatial datasets. This will improve efficiencies and knowledge within the council and also make council owned data available to members of the public and reduce time spent on Freedom of Information requests and personal search company request by being more transparent.

To achieve this, we intend to make better use of FME, WMS and WFS services, PostGIS, Geoserver, APl's and other open source software.

Summary of Project to be delivered

Work has started on implementing a new website complete with a web mapping facility. We have a PostGlS database that is actively used by staff internally and contains some 217 datasets. However, having entered data into PostGIS and discovering significant areas of improvement in the way in which data is stored and managed, we now realise that our spatial database could be substantially improved to the extent that it would be worthwhile uploading the existing data in a different way to improve connectivity. Whilst the project has already begun, we will be starting again with improved experience and knowledge and we will call up data experts to work with us to identify more efficient and appropriate data preparation and structuring activities to better upload data for more widespread and flexible re-use internally and by the general public through open data.

  1. Chorley Borough Council

Project title: Needs to Service custodians

Contact: Victoria Willett

Lead accountable organisation: Chorley Borough Council

Partner organisations that will be working together: Chorley Borough Council, Lancashire County Council, Lancaster University Infolab, Connected Health Cities, LGA, iStanduk, IEG4

Name and contact of Data Expert or Expert Team: Nick King Lancaster University, Paul Davidson iStanduk,

Amount of grant requested: £10,000

 

Background

This project builds on the exploratory work by the LGA to utilise its extensive work on the Local Government Business Model to match place-based services to individual personalised needs & circumstances. This is currently the subject of development and pilot activity in Lancashire with a focus in Chorley.

The proposed work has two objectives:

a. To support data management and use of hyper local service data as part of ‘needs to service’ mapping – i.e. what local services address what individual’s needs – reflecting a true place based focus. The initial project intended to only use open service data, however from the outset it becomes apparent that there is a recognised need for place-based local federated data to qualify the value of services and these should be matched to the local government information standards services list and citizen needs model. This data project is aimed at contributing to a wider LGA pilot with local- and hyper local- service data through the bringing together of local partners in a “proof of concept”, that incorporates a custodian function to check, maintain and govern the data that is published openly about locally delivered services.

b. Aligning ‘needs’ data and ‘intelligence’ to system innovation. The project will also conduct the investigatory work to better understand the value of ‘needs’ related data and ‘customer insight’, and how this can be connected into health & care data projects lead by: Lancaster University, Connected Health Cities and Chorley Digital Health Village project. The custodian group will bring together data experts from the LGA, iStanduk, IEG4, Lancaster University Infolab, Health, Lancashire County Council and leading third sector organisations, to set out if this federated data can be utilised within the health and social care environment for the benefit of public health.

 

Summary of Project to be delivered

In the summer of 2016 the LGA - along with iNetwork – began a discovery stage to try and create a consistent way to describe and publish open data about local services using a universally agreed schema. The project also sought the support of commercial app developer, IEG4, to investigate and create software that would translate this source online open data into a useable discovery and communications platform for frontline services. Within the timeline of this project, partners have collectively recognised the need for a “gateway” process to effectively manage localised federated data, to add value to services that may be delivering on wellbeing, health and social care outcomes.

It has been noted from leading service providers that, for the ‘needs to services’ model to realise its true benefits, each citizen, organisation, body or sector must be able to trust the quality of the service data. Service information such as opening times, locations and levels of provision regularly change and need constant updating which can be costly for owners of directories, and time wasted for service providers instructing multiple directories of their changes or services. Lead representatives within this Chorley pilot agreed that applying a custodian model would build in a level of quality assurance to ensure the right match of ‘need to services’ which in turn would build trust in the information and any resulting products.

The project looks to bring together partners that have a vested interest in the use and upkeep of service data and create a local 'proof of concept'. This will include managing the federated data model; documenting potential cost savings; work to match services to the local government information sharing business model and publishing existing service directories to the new LGA and iStandUK services schema, resulting in a set of recommendations.

The project also aims to bring data experts from LGA, iStandUK, Lancaster University, Lancashire County Council, Health & IEG4 to explore how this new federated data model can add value into personalising health and care data. By understanding what is required to capture needs data generated by the IEG4 & LGA software, this project may be able to take a positive step towards to giving citizens more control over their own health and wellbeing information and use the intelligence gained to influence the future commissioning of services.

  1. Leicester City Council

Project title: Braunstone Blues Partnership Information Sharing Agreement

Contact: Lynn Wyeth

Lead accountable organisation: Leicester City Council

Partner organisations that will be working together: Leicestershire Fire & Rescue Service, Leicestershire Police, East Midlands Ambulance Service, Leicester City Council, Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group, Leicestershire NHS Partnership Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

Data Expert or Expert Team: Centre for Excellence for Information Sharing.

Amount of grant requested: £9,125

Background

Braunstone Blues is a multi-agency early intervention project consisting of a team from each of the three emergency services: Fire & Rescue, Police and Ambulance to be piloted in Braunstone, a deprived area of the City of Leicester. It is led by Fire & Rescue, is based in the community at a local school and has strategic input from the local authority and clinical commissioning group. The aim of the project is to reduce reliance on emergency services, by educating and supporting the local community through its programme of Healthy, Safe & Secure Visits and organised events. Numbers of people calling an ambulance at least 5 times a month has double since April 2014 when records began. A key component of the project is to leave behind a team of volunteers from the local community who can continue the work of the team once the project finishes in mid-2018. Work has been initiated between the Fire & Rescue Service and the Police. The project now wishes to expand to work more closely with Local Authority and Health partners to identify underlying causes for calling the blue light services, to provide the most suitable service provision or referral to 3rd sector agencies and to enable early intervention. The project will involve the following project activities funded by this data experts grant: release of data (shared data space), data governance and sharing (overcoming barriers to implement an information sharing agreement), data architecture (linking data across organisational silos), data analytics (preparing for early intervention) and data strategy / leadership (transform services).

 

Summary of Project to be delivered

The Braunstone Blues originated from the experience that those who repeatedly use emergency services, irrespective of which service it is, are likely to be facing similar underlying difficulties and these difficulties cannot be dealt satisfactorily by one organisation alone. It is imperative that a multi-agency information sharing agreement is in place to assist the team to identify service users, often vulnerable people, and offer them advice and support at the earliest opportunity and to improve wellbeing. Many vulnerable households calling the blue light services may be better served with a social care package or mental health support. Referrals to another provider who can offer specialist services needed for that individual are another option and this would free up the blue light services to respond to emergency calls instead.

The project would benefit from expertise in data sharing to help bring about a multi-agency agreement to share personal data between health and non-health partner – all for the purposes of early intervention and improving outcomes for vulnerable people. There are particular difficulties in sharing health data (particularly around confidentiality and whether data can be shared without consent for interventionist work, or for secondary use purposes if not for direct care). This project would examine solutions in more detail.

The intention is to approve a model agreement with a legal basis for sharing which can then be used in other parts of Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland. The learning from Braunstone Blues will be transferable to other local authorities, locally and then potentially nationally. The funding would support a workshop facilitated by the Centre for Information Sharing Excellence to help address cultural and technological barriers. The data expert would then be able to build on this work to propose a legal basis and work with partners to ensure the resulting agreement is compliant with data protection and human rights laws, as well as the common law duty of confidence.

  1. Bath and North East Somerset Council [B&NES]

Project title: Connecting Data: Understanding Social Care Demand

Contact: Jon Poole

Lead accountable organisation: Bath and North East Somerset Council

Partner organisations that will be working together: B&NES Council, NHS Bath and North East Somerset (as relevant) and Bath:Hacked open Data Community. (Providers of community services, including Virgin Health as appropriate with relation to data development).

Data Expert or Expert Team: Institute for Policy Research, University of Bath (Professor Julie Barnett).

Amount of grant requested: £10,000

Background

In common with many other areas, Bath and North East Somerset has seen significant increases in demand for services relating to Special Educational Needs and Disability and Learning Disabilities from early years into adult services. We want to build on existing good practice to deliver high quality data analysis to understand the causal factors behind these increases. We do not believe in ‘black box’ analysis and so we want to improve local skills and capacity through a methodology which is marketable and transferrable to other local settings.

Summary of Project to be delivered

The project will be delivered by an existing partnership of data experts operating in Bath and North East Somerset. Our “Partnership for Data and Analytics” currently has the following membership

  • -Bath and North East Somerset Council

  • -University of Bath

  • -Bath:Hacked open data community comprised of local residents and businesses.

  • -NHS Bath and North East Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group

In this bid we are specifically looking to utilise external experts from the University of Bath to support local authority staff to deliver outputs of the project, both to help deliver analysis and improve local skills and increase academic rigour in local decision making.

The project will develop develops on our existing partnership framework in the local authority area. We have an established methodology for conducting work of this nature, which focusses on openness, policy value and data improvement.

The project will follow an existing, iterative methodology for development of key questions and data improvement and is designed to ensure ongoing policy impact from the analysis. We will adapt this methodology using a ‘sprint’ approach (detailed below) to ensure appropriate academic input and challenge.

The project builds on a number of existing local research activities in the field. The council has invested significant resources in improving data in both children’s and adult services to create more longitudinal and harmonised data. We are now in a position where we want to work to truly realise the analytical possibilities of this data.

 

  1. West Sussex County Council

 

Project title: Creation of LG Data Expert Network and annual Conference to share best practice

Contact: Dr Anuschka Muller

Lead accountable organisation: West Sussex County Council

Partner organisations that will be working together: potentially across all of Local Government, mainly upper tier, unitary and combined authorities.

Data Expert or Expert Team: assemble a facility that brings data experts from many providers of local services together to consider, debate and address issues.

Amount of grant requested: £5,000

Background

Through various professional and government data networks, conferences and private professional data networks, the need for a coherent platform and network for data experts, data analytics leaders and performance & intelligence service leads has been raised. Even this programme and call for projects is evidence for the fact that there are pockets of expectant practice, innovative ideas and new approaches of using and visualising data to influence decision making but this is not widely available and contacts are not easily made.

There is no network available that connects and brings together data practitioners, data experts and data analytics leaders in local government across the country open and widely.

As Head of Performance & Intelligence overseeing a large centralised team of data analysts, my five team leaders and I would be very keen to kick start and to organise a network of a country wide scale to:

  • Create a network for data practitioners, data experts and data analytics leaders in Local Government by actively using existing networks to promote and market and to administer the logistics.

  • organise a first conference to enable sharing of innovative ideas, different approaches and success stories for using data in local government.

Summary of Project to be delivered

This idea has come up several time and we are now looking to making it happen in 2017. It is part of our business plan and networks have already been made across the Country, building on existing networks such as LGInform, Knowledge Hub, Solace Evidence Group and Springboard and wider CEO network, LARIA, Public Health Research Networks, Analytics and Insight Leaders Network and many more.

We have established a similar group (Data Working Group) on a local level with experts from across Sussex partners (West Sussex and East Sussex County Council, District & Borough Councils, Police and CCGs) and the group meets quarterly. The personal network and sharing of expertise, knowledge, tools and approaches has been proved very successful with increased data sharing, sharing of staff resources without formal agreement (offer of help), and generally an invaluable network for asking the data community questions that nobody else could answer in the local authority, thus saving money on unnecessary training.

Hopefully, if early activities and interest from participants proves successful, then the LGA or some similar organisation could take up the reins in future years and continue the delivery of the initiative and work to extend it to the whole country for widespread involvement.

 

 

posted by LGA Data and Digital Team on 11th January 2017

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