Our data journey

We’ve come a very long way as a sector; even just a few years ago the focus was very much on ‘how can we be more digital’ (as though digital is the end goal), rather than the understanding of how we treat data as an asset to use in our arsenal. More recently, iNetwork is proud to have been working alongside colleagues and partners to push the message that information governance is an enabler of data sharing that, when properly used, can be a powerful tool to improve services, communities, and lives.

One of the three key themes at iNetwork’s 15th Annual Conference, Journey to a better Place: transforming public services, on 20th Nov 2020 was ‘Enabling Place Based Data Sharing’. Data was a golden thread running through all the conference sessions, as it has been in all fifteen of iNetwork’s annual conferences. It has been really interesting to note how our conversations have changed over the years. The sessions in this year’s conference really highlighted the maturity in our understanding of the handling and use of data. I want to share some of these projects and insights with you.



Data sharing projects at #iNetwork 2020



Scalable Approach to Vulnerability via Interoperability 

iStandUK’s SAVVI project (Scalable Approach to Vulnerability via Interoperability) is an attempt to tackle hardship and vulnerability with data standards. Funded by MHCLG’s C-19 Challenge, the project is to propose the data and standards that can improve how local councils and partners can find vulnerable people and households, and then promote a coordinated multi-agency response. iStandUK have teamed up with Huntingdonshire District Council, where they have defined a risk model based on life events, to highlight where an early intervention can reduce hardship.

Inspired by the COVID19 experience where partner councils all told iStandUK that blending data from many sources to find vulnerable people was harder than it should have been. This session detailed how iStandUK developed a standards approach to respond to this context, and how this approach can be used to find other types of vulnerability; homelessness prevention in particular.

For more information about the SAVVI project, and iStandUK’s work on national data standards, visit the iStandUK website.


A Digital Approach to Discharge to Assess (D2A)

Part of the Social Care Digital Innovation Accelerator 2020/21, this digital project has brought together five local authorities to co-design and co-fund a supplier agnostic, cloud based solution to the D2A challenge faced by all local authorities and their health partners. With a solution called ‘Hospital to Home’ currently in development, this session explained how and why it’s being built, as well as how it will support – and significantly improve – working practices across all partners involved in the D2A process.


AIM – A Data Driven Approach to Multi-Agency Public Sector Safeguarding

This project, led by Walsall Council and their public sector safeguarding partners, will enable key services to quickly and easily identify a person that may require support or services to reduce the potential of them falling into the social care system – either at all or further – by sharing nothing more than key demographic identifiers. With the aims of preventing people spiraling into the system and reducing pressures on social care and other public sector services, this project has a dual IG and development approach, to ensure the solution can be scaled elsewhere.


GM Information Governance: Enabling Place-Based Working

An overview of current and planned activity to develop a GM information strategy and information governance framework. They emphasised some of the warnings to be aware of when looking at a multi-agency sharing approach and top tips to consider such as; understanding and committing to what you want to achieve, planning your approach and the need to break it down and the implementation and importance of an iterative approach. 


How to Use Data to Make a Difference

“We have a data problem. We collect it, but we rarely use it. We understand its value but we don’t use it’s full potential.” Looking through a Equality, Diversity and Inclusion lens, in this session Vimla Appadoo, Co-founder and Chief Culture Officer at Honey Badger, spoke passionately about what’s going wrong with data and what we can do about it – to make our products, services and relationships better.


Want to get involved?

iNetwork’s Effective Information Sharing & Security (EISS) programme is an active network that supports local public sector IT, Information Governance, and Cyber Security Colleagues to collaborate and innovate. Whether you have been working on an innovative project in this area, or would just like to connect with colleagues who share a passion for improving outcomes in these areas, we’d love to hear from you! Find out how to get involved on the EISS Programme page.