This project, promoted by East Midlands Improvement and Efficiency Partnership (EMIEP), sought to make the case for continued investment in customer insight and research, by demonstrating how these activities can lead to better and more efficient services. There were two strands: first, skills workshops and networking relating to customer insight, data analysis and research; and secondly, a series of sub-regional demonstration projects using statistical analysis, social research and insight methods to investigate different aspects of getting 16 to 18 year olds into employment, education or training. These projects explored, for instance, the needs and experiences of young people in rural areas, teenage mothers, and triggers for young people disengaging and getting involved in anti-social behaviour. Typically they involved analysis of Connexions client data and qualitative field research. There was strong interest in identifying risk factors to reduce the likelihood of young people becoming NEET. Derrick Johnstone played an advisory role as a Local Improvement Advisor, helping to shape the programme and input on practice elsewhere. This involvement follows an earlier LIA assignment for EMIEP reviewing customer insight and R&I in the region.
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Problems with data sharing continue to be raised as a serious obstacle to developing effective, joined-up services to tackle worklessness at local level. Adverse consequences can include poor targeting of services, weak referral systems, duplicated provision and difficulties in determining value for money.This guide on Good Practice in Data Sharing
840 KB), published by Local Government Improvement and Development (now Local Government Association) in May 2010:
- sets out the ways in which shared data can contribute in tackling worklessness
- illustrates what can get in the way of data sharing – and what lies behind this
- draws distinctions between different types of data sharing, and the importance of personal consent
- explains the legal basis for data sharing around worklessness, including that affecting what DWP can and cannot share
- highlights good practice and explores data sharing as partnership in action.
This was one of two How To guides produced by Educe for LGID, part of the series funded by DWP and CLG following the Houghton ‘Tackling Worklessness’ Review (TWR). It drew on the CLG/DWP Data Sharing Pilot Programme (a TWR project) and earlier work by Educe on Data Sharing for Neighbourhood Renewal. It was written to complement the DWP guidance on data sharing and worklessness
and on data sharing and social security data
. Note also that DWP are now making small area benefits data available (reducing the need for data sharing requests) – see their page on Output Area data
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One of the key issues affecting the efforts of local partners to tackle worklessness relates to constraints on data sharing. Following the Tackling Worklessness (Houghton) Review, CLG and DWP agreed to initiate a pilot project to demonstrate ways in which relevant data can be shared within the current legislative framework. The pilot involved Kent, Leeds and Liverpool City Region, and aimed to clarify barriers, enabling factors and ways forward.Derrick Johnstone led input by three Local Improvement Advisors (LIAs) in support of the pilot areas, also contributing as a member of an Expert Group. The role of the LIAs was to:
- broker relationships and facilitate discussions around local needs for worklessness data
- facilitate data sharing and data management to achieve better outcomes
- help identify solutions to obstacles, including ways of ensuring data security
- working with local partners, CLG and DWP to test and provide exchange protocols, data sharing principles, Memoranda of Understanding, and other tools to underpin this process
- identify lessons and good practice to be shared more widely as outcomes from the project.
The project has informed guidance on data sharing and worklessness published by DWP, and the IDeA ‘How To’ guide on Good Practice in Data Sharing ( 840KB) drafted by Educe. It has also led to DWP providing working age benefits data at very small area level (Output Areas), the smallest areas for which statistical data can be supplied.
CLG have published an evaluation of the pilots, Sharing data to improve local employment outcomes ( download on CLG site).New possibilities for data sharing have since been opened up by the Sections 130-133 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012. Draft regulations have been published to extend data sharing to help identify people affected by new benefit rules, especially on housing, and families with multiple disadvantages who may require support to help turn their lives around, as part of the Government’s Troubled Families programme.
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Local authorities in the East Midlands have been spending considerable time collating datasets for strategic assessment and service improvement. Responsibility for collation is typically spread across a range of services in councils (and partners) creating the risk of duplication. Data managers and their teams have been carrying out large amounts of work to repackage nationally available data for local needs.Analytical capacity has been stretched by such demands and available data are not always used to the full. Research and intelligence has not always been joined up where and when it matters – within local authorities and across partners.Derrick Johnstone was commissioned by the East Midlands Improvement and Efficiency Partnership to undertake a scoping project to:
- clarify common needs for improved access to, and use of data, including the use of tools such as MOSAIC, ACORN and OAC (ONS) and the resources of regional and sub-regional observatories
- identify the potential for further pan-regional collaboration, including ways of developing and making better use of regional and sub-regional R&I infrastructure
- assess models for joint use and acquisition of Customer Insight packages, along with potential savings through joint procurement arrangements
- identify priorities for learning and sharing good practice, to inform the future work of the Improvement and Efficiency Partnership
The report provided the basis for regional consultation, and led to the East Midlands Customer Insight and Research project, on which Derrick acted as an advisor. This project had two strands: one to developing skills and networks relating to research and analysis; the other a series of sub-regional demonstration projects applying customer insight and research methods in seeking to raise aspirations and the reduce the numbers of young people who are NEET (not in education, employment or training).
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Key Findings report from our evaluation of the ‘Supporting Evidence for Local Delivery’ programme, introduced by central government in 2005 to promote better use of data, research and evidence in neighbourhood renewal through the provision of technical assistance to Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs) and neighbourhood renewal partnerships. Published by the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG).
The research evaluated the quality and impact of four regional pilots and the programme as a whole, and researched analytical skills and skills gaps within partnerships in neighbourhood renewal-funded areas. The key findings emphasised strengthening skills and capacity at all levels, addressing needs within Local Area Agreements and responding to the challenge of the government’s review of Sub-National Economic Development and Regeneration.
Further analysis from the SELD research subsequently featured in the CLG report, ‘Supporting Local Information and Research’, published in January 2009.
Project led by Educe with the Centre for Regional Economic Development (University of Cumbria), CENTRIS and Makesfive Ltd.
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Project scoping work needed to analyse the impacts, financial costs and benefits of neighbourhood management initiatives in Barnsley, to provide evidence for decision makers considering the introduction of neighbourhood management approaches in other areas. The project sought to generate better shared understanding of available data and gaps in evidence, and what needs to be done to address these. It built on initial business case work undertaken by the Kendray Neighbourhood Management pathfinder, and looked to integrate current evaluation thinking with developments in pursuit of the local government efficiency agenda. (Neighbourhood Renewal Adviser assignment for Barnsley Council and the Government Office for Yorkshire and the Humber)Download:
The assignment informed the subsequent development of a new Neighbourhoods and Community Engagement Framework, which mainstreamed the work of the Kendray neighbourhood management pathfinder.
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