Data – the one prescription we all need

11 September 2018

Over the summer I have been visiting councils involved in transformations across the UK, and it is clear to see that a common aspiration is arising amongst us; a need to understand what drives demand for public services. We want to give the best to our local residents by not only creating the ingredients for thriving communities, but also reducing demand and costs for public services.

It’s been interesting witnessing the variations in experience of tackling the effects of austerity. Simply copying what others have done isn’t the answer for any council but understanding the breadth and depth of what has been achieved through sharing knowledge throws up several opportunities.

Looking at the developments in health and social care, the variation in experiences ranges from districts that are working creatively to support a joined-up approach to public health, to Scottish councils that have had statutory partnerships for some years. Nonetheless, we know that despite this variation by sharing our experiences we can collectively be stronger, and I’ve seen this being done constantly. Take East Ayrshire and Wigan for example; they have not only achieved huge successes but are spending the time reaching out and share those experiences.

But what of the challenges? One area that I see many struggling with, which we will be addressing at our conference on 8 November, is an evidenced based approach to understanding need at a family level and the true effect of actions to alleviate that need. Despite there being some strong work emerging in councils towards a more ‘intelligent’ approach to this area, and with some great supporting actions from the Local Government Association, LARIA and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives, it does seem we have lost something of the knowledge that existed in the sector before austerity.

To help, iESE has developed the next generation of mobile data-driven tools for the fair pricing of care. Unlike a corporate decision-making system, we are striving to put a data-driven approach in the hands of some of the most important team members on the front line, allowing intelligent decisions to be made at the first point of contact with the customer. User acceptance testing has gone brilliantly, and we will shortly be launching these tools for live usage – so if you have an interest in delivering better care services at a more affordable price then get in touch.

For more information visit www.iese.org.uk

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