In April 2020, The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government issued the Early Help System Guide to assist local authorities improving resilience and outcomes for vulnerable families.

Part of this guide focuses on Data Maturity and the importance of data in understanding needs across a local area, identifying hidden need, optimising services and support and efficiently evidencing successful family outcomes. The guide has been developed to “help areas understand the progress they must make in six areas” with respect to data maturity.

In a recent survey of local authorities by the MHCLG (still in draft and awaiting final publication) more than 50% of those surveyed said that they had achieved maturity in two or less of these areas, with only 3% (6 councils) believing they had reached data maturity across all six areas.

At xantura, we have been developing the OneView platform for over a  decade to resolve the information governance issues, data matching challenges and ethical considerations that can enable not only successful data sharing, but also the creation of accurate predictive models and the embedding of this information into the operational processes of front-line staff and management.

In recent conversations with local authorities, we have heard on many occasions how they have been working for many years to solve parts of this puzzle and are still grappling with challenges that are preventing the benefits being fully realised.

We want to provide a brief overview of how we can help local authorities to deliver fully operational services in all six of these areas in under 12 months using our OneView platform.  It has been our mission as business for over 12 years to help improve outcomes for vulnerable people and families through the ethical and proportionate use of data and now that we are able to rapidly and inexpensively deliver this, we want to help as many local authorities as possible move from the 50% who aren’t delivering to the 3% who are.

The data maturity matrix consists of six principles which we have detailed below with a brief description of how the deployment of OneView delivers each principle.

  1. Strong data sharing agreements, consistent and open data feeds.

The OneView platform is built on embedded Data Sharing Protocols which are agreed with each local authority and detail how every piece of information in the platform can be used, as well as who it can be shared with and under what circumstances.  This gives the local authority complete control over how data is used to ensure there is a legal basis, as well as providing an audit trail for every time data is accessed through the platform.  This approach has recently been reviewed by the ICO and deemed to be compliant with legislation.

  1. Automated data matching and outcome monitoring.

Local Authorities have consistently struggled with data matching as there is no unique identifier that connects all data extracts within a local authority and their broader partners.  The OneView platform uses a unique process of pseudonymisation to separate personal and sensitive data and then matches all the personal data from every data extract to create single views of individuals, houses and groups and changes in those over time.  The platform creates unique identifiers for each individual and household which is then encrypted and attached to the sensitive data on the council’s infrastructure before being shared with the OneView platform.  This enables deep analysis to be undertaken on pseudonymised data without the need to personally identify the individuals, which councils having complete control over how and where this information is then surfaced.

  1. Partner data are provided to whole family workers to inform casework and partners can access authority held case recording.

OneView utilises data from across the local authority and wider partners and this information is then surfaced as textual, factual case summaries within all relevant case management systems within a council or a wider partner.  The information that is shown within the case summaries is completely governed by embedded data sharing protocols meaning that staff can only see the information that is appropriate and proportionate to their role and their purpose.  The case summaries are also tailored to align with each service area and third parties’ ways of working.

  1. Reportable and quantified outcomes in case management systems

Because the OneView platform utilises data from across council services and wider partners, and breaks down the siloes that currently exist, OneView can build a much more holistic view of individuals and their wider needs and vulnerabilities.  This means that the efficacy of interventions and the understanding of outcomes can be analysed against the characteristics of different groups providing a much more understanding and insight.  This analysis can be surfaced into any existing council systems or viewed through a bespoke portal, and BI teams within councils can build their own models and views using the joined-up data. OneView identifies families that qualify for the TF programme and tracks their progress for Payment by Results. We also automate any Government required returns such as the National Impact Study and Family Progress Data (when required).

  1. Partnership outcomes data are used to inform workforce development, strategic and commissioning decisions.

The OneView platform delivers a range of pre-built outputs and dashboards which can be filtered and adapted to model future demand and monitor different cohorts.  These can then be converted into identifiable data by individuals with appropriate data sharing protocols in place to enable the identification of households who might benefit from early help and proactive support and outreach.  These tools can also be used to test the efficacy of current interventions across different outcomes, understand caseloads in terms of location and complexity in order to support frontline workers and teams as well as to support insight-led strategic and commissioning decisions.

  1. Data are used to assess unmet need, hidden need and predict risk.

The OneView platform uses predictive models, built on pseudonymised data, in order to provide councils and wider partners with a better understanding of those with multiple vulnerabilities and escalating risks.  These can be used by frontline teams to uncover unmet need and deliver earlier interventions to reduce worsening outcomes.  They can also be used to drive better partnership working by ensuring that a holistic understanding of households is achieved as well as providing a view of all current interventions and touchpoints across the council so that the most appropriate teams can provide the best support in a joined-up way.

Early Help is not just confined to the Troubled Families programme and is critical for councils seeking to offer the best opportunities for their residents.  Early Help however is predicated on better partnership working and gaining a better understanding of households with multiple risks and challenges.  Without the right information governance and data sharing architecture, this is impossible.

Xantura are passionate about helping vulnerable people and have spent 12 years solving these issues exclusively for the public sector.  We want to make the journey to data maturity as painless as possible and give social workers and management teams the tools they need to help residents as quickly as possible.  With the impacts of Covid-19 starting to bite across all service areas, solving this problem quickly has never been more important.