Like many local authorities, Derby City Council provides a myriad of services, each reliant on its own set of dedicated application systems. As a result, there are silos of data about its citizens and the services provided to them. Unfortunately, this means that there is no single view of people, places, and services.
This is problematic, particularly in social care and Supporting Families, where several different teams work with various systems, but have no single view of these families.
Supported Families are those who are encountering separate social care-related issues potentially across different members of the family. This may involve issues at school, welfare or financial difficulties, anti-social and criminal activity, domestic abuse, or health issues.
Without a single view of a household and the activities of those who lived there, it was difficult for the council to understand how any of the support they were providing to one individual, may be either influenced by, or influencing others, in the same household.
Many of these household challenges are interlinked, but the council lacked visibility across its various teams. The result was a systemic difficulty in making those associations proactively, allowing earlier targeted intervention and support. Derby City Council recognised the urgent need to become an Insight-Led Council.
Embracent was able to take the high-level designs/aspirations provided by the council, and architect these into a strategic automated solution. This involved ingesting data from 6 different application data sources within the council.
We undertook a significant programme of work integrating data, verification, data quality and error handling checks, and transforming all data into a Microsoft SQL Server-based central repository. This was aligned to a single council business view, rather than reflecting each of the distinct data sources that hold inconsistent data that cannot easily be joined back together.
Further to engineering the platform, a series of business-intuitive dashboards were deployed. This allowed end-users in different council services to effortlessly obtain data from other teams to build a complete view of any one supported family that will need their help.
Embracent worked with the council collaboratively as a single project team (both with business users and IT teams), bringing in specific technical and domain expertise, whilst also imparting all key project and live support knowledge throughout the process.
The live central data repository provides Derby City Council with a single version of the truth for all Supported Families households, individuals, and activities.
Insight is intuitively presented, and available – subject to carefully-controlled security permissions protecting data sensitivity – to the council’s teams. This means that council teams can now identify issues easily, and work with other departments to provide joined up support the same household and individuals.
The improvements to data and insights confer numerous benefits to the council:
- All manual effort to look up citizens of Supported Families across multiple different systems can be removed, as everything is now accessible via one single data source.
- The improvement in the quality and efficiency of services that can be offered, due to the new overarching understanding of what a household and/or individuals need.
- Proactively identifying households/individuals early, even before they qualify / become an actual Supported Family. This means that support for families becomes available very early and can easily mitigate bigger issues later due to earlier interventions.
The council teams have also been trained, empowered, and mentored to manage this solution by themselves, with no unnecessary or costly dependency on external resources.
The end result is a strategic (and expandable) data platform that provides all necessary high-quality insight for Supported Families instantaneously, and in a secure and ethical manner. Derby City Council has now become an Insight-Led Council.
“Embracent lived and breathed this project from start to finish; they fully committed and invested their time, recognising the importance and impact of the solution and how it could help to change lives. The whole team were friendly, accessible and gave their all to deliver the final product.”
Heather Greenan – Director of Policy, Insight & Communications – Derby City Council