The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is leading a group of government organisations in a programme to link data on vulnerable people.
Named the Better Outcomes through Linked Data (BOLD) programme, it is aimed at providing more joined up services and improving the evidence base for policy creation and operational decision making.
The MoJ is working on BOLD with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government, the Department for Health and Social Care, Public Health England, Public Health Wales and the Office for National Statistics.
It is understood to have begun a three-month discovery project, budgeted at £1.4 million, to scope and create a strategy for the programme.
According to procurement notice for support in the discovery, this derives from an identification of a gap in the data needed to monitor issues around vulnerability. A range of datasets held by social policy departments could provide major benefits if better shared and linked.
The work has four prime aims, one being to improve the evidence base around what works in support of various policy objects, and the second to manage and join up services more effectively by tracking users through different parts of the public sector to better understand where vulnerable adults are using several services.
The third is to identify where people only appear in one dataset but vulnerability flags suggest they should but are not being picked up by other services, and the fourth is to better identify how different services impact on the dynamic factors of vulnerability. The latter point covers which combination of services could most effectively support a vulnerable person and could help in earlier interventions.
The MoJ indicated that the ultimate end users will be cross-government analysts and their policy and operational customers in the public sector, although there will be others such as strategy and legal officers, data engineers and scientists, and evaluation specialists.
The programme adds a new strand to the work on vulnerability data, coming soon after the iStandUK organisation set up a tech working group for SAVVI (Scalable Approach to Vulnerability Via Interopreability) standards. It was established to provide a dialogue between public authorities and technology companies on how the standards could be adopted by the industry.
iStand, which focuses on the promotion of data standards in local services, said it has been invited to represent local government on the BOLD programme board.
In a blogpost, iStand executive board member Shelley Hackman said: “Very much like the SAVVI project, this programme recognises that public services collect a large amount of data which is used to improve the quality of services offered to the public, but it is not often shared between organisations which could provide more effective intelligence for even better service delivery.
“At SAVVI, we are incredibly excited to engage with a national initiative that is trying to do similar things at the national level, that which we are aiming to achieve at the local level. It is important that the two programmes are sighted on each other to ensure that we do not develop incompatible approaches and solutions.”
Image from iStock, Artur