Worcestershire creates cross-public sector data team

Strategic grouping for the county provides seed funds for body to promote data sharing and analytics between organisations

A special team is being set up to promote data sharing and analytics between organisations in Worcestershire’s public sector.

Neill CrumpNeill Crump (pictured), who is leading the effort, told UKAuthority it is possibly the first of its kind for the public sector in the UK – although plans for a similar team for London are well advanced – and that it has the potential to extend to a wider area.

The initial idea for the initiative came from the executive group of the Worcestershire Partnership, the strategic grouping for public sector organisations in the country. Last year it identified the opportunities for more joined up services through data sharing and made seed funding - £490,000 up to the end of March next year - available to set up the operation.

Initially KPMG provided some advisory services, including setting up the governance structure and providing some use cases, with each of the partner organisations providing someone to act as a contact.

The consultancy has now stepped back and Crump has begun to set up a small team, established as a cost centre within the county council, but he emphasised that it will provide services for a range of public authorities and that it is not yet decided how it will evolve.

Helping the place

“It’s not there to be associated with the county,” he said. “It’s there to be a separate organisation to bring us all together. It’s acting as a consultant to support public sector partners in better using data and bringing their datasets together to help Worcestershire as a place.”

He said that the six pilots are at different levels of maturity, with the furthest advanced being to use data in providing targeted family support in the Redditch area. This is providing the basis of a case study to be made available soon.

Another is around ‘falls and frailty’ in which some GPs are letting older patients know the local fire safety teams can provide assessments of risk in their homes. This could also feed into evaluations for adult social care.

There is also a pilot for using three years of data from health and social care in analytics to assess the experience of patients with complex dependencies. This is expected to run over the next six months.

“It provides an example of us looking to put ourselves out there as Worcestershire as a place to get inward investment,” Crump said. “If we can say we have the right culture and lean organisation in place, then other companies could want to work with us, using us as a testbed to deliver better services in future.”

Extension potential

He said that, while his initial focus will be on learning from the existing use cases, there is scope to take the operation into other geographical areas. He cites the possibility of neighbouring Herefordshire, which shares a footprint for a sustainability and transformation partnership for health and social care with Worcestershire.

Crump said the next priority is to put together an investment business case for the first quarter of next year. This could involve an emphasis on data sharing to support multi-agency teams working in the same building, and using data to support the local economy.

He added that the initiative has a long term potential to change the way public authorities work together in the county: “Along with the benefits from putting the data together and gaining new insights, there is an opportunity to change the culture of our organisations and how we operate together.”