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Wirral Council to build machine learning capability


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Wirral Council is planning to set up a data analytics and machine learning solution and build its in-house capability in using the technology.

It has contracted data analytics consultancy Simpson Associates to work with it on the project, which will use the Microsoft Fabric platform and is aimed at helping the council to use machine learning in its strategic planning and targeting of resources.

The initial stages will involve collaborating on an example, developing a machine learning solution using synthetic data. Simpson Associates said this stage will help the Wirral team build an understanding of the development process.

It will be followed by work on several proof of concept solutions and use cases, including for forecasting trends to anticipate increase demand for council services.

Among the aims will be to assess whether performance risks can be used to predict when early interventions are needed, and to use machine learning in identifying what is behind negative outcomes and define mitigation strategies.

There is also a plan to develop a predictive model to forecast future service demand, taking consideration of potential shifts in demographics and characteristics of the area over time. This should help Wirral to strategically plan and allocate resources effectively.

Incredibly important

Vikki Chapman, Wirral’s ICT digital solutions manager, described it as “an incredibly important project”.

“It will give us the ability to proactively identify and deliver early preventative measures and support our planning for the future,” she said.

Tom Hughes, business development manager for Simpson Associates, said of Wirral Council: “They have a clear vision, use cases and a good understanding of how the solution can enable them to better serve their community. We’re looking forward to collaboratively delivering this solution.”

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