Data Sharing: Essential for delivery of integrated, cost effective services for residents and businesses

20 August 2018

Partners across local areas have a common thread in that they interact with the same residents and businesses in the same places. However, because the various organisations often act in data silos, we therefore cannot fully answer the question of our collective activity and associated cost in delivering effective public services to individuals, households and businesses. We definitely can do more to aggregate data and calculate shared patterns of demand facing our partner services.

By measuring and scoring the cumulative impact of our actions for each individual, household and business and putting this in the context of our communities, we will know where activities, interventions and costs are duplicated.  To make this happen we must recognise the importance of building trust on how we use data with our residents and businesses and ensure we act securely and with integrity.  For example, many people expect that if they have given their personal details to the NHS that all parts of the NHS use this information to deliver a full and integrated service that safeguards them in times of need. We need to continue having dialogue to ensure we securely and transparently deliver cost effectiveness and integration by linking other services in line with their expectations.

In Worcestershire, we have invested in a Chief Data Officer to champion best practice across our agencies. In doing so we are creating a business case for the next few years that will change our culture, invest in our people and shared resources and take us on a roadmap to sharing data and getting the best out of analytic opportunities.

We will foster a culture of analysis and evidence based decision making to provide early intervention opportunities. This will mean ensuring information governance and digital solutions are designed upfront in new ways of working and adapted for current processes. We will positively increase our impact on our communities and reduce the cost burden through collaboration between our Worcestershire agencies, our voluntary sector with other UK public and private sector organisations.

We will invest in our people and resources to build analytical and data sharing capability (by developing existing people and bringing in young people by collaborating with local colleges and universities) and also free up time up for analysis based activities to support the redesign of services. We will work out how to share technical resources, both locally and wider, so more time is spent on improving services.

Our roadmap to sharing data and getting the best out of our analytic opportunities will ensure we focus on our residents and businesses to enable better decision making based on their needs whilst engaging them to ensure they are confident their data will be shared securely and to their benefit. This will mean building and aligning standard data models that deliver interoperability and sharing across partners for key business requirements and analysis needs. We have a lot of existing technology capabilities which we will utilise more effectively and only look for investment opportunities with other UK public sector agencies or private organisations where it makes business sense.

Other local areas are undertaking similar approaches and are actively pursuing opportunities with central government, voluntary organisations, not-for-profits, private enterprise and others. By continuing to work with each to accelerate our best practice, we will be more effective in joining services for the benefits of residents and businesses. In these times, this is absolutely essential to ensure our prosperity and future success.

Neill Crump, Chief Data Officer, Worcestershire Office of Data Analytics (WODA)

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