Wigan Council

Wigan Council

COVID-19 – Using Data to Direct Support Where it is Most Needed


Briefly describe the initiative/ project/service; please include your aims and objectives

COVID-19 has really accelerated our approach to linking data sets across partners and services within the council. We have therefore used the opportunity to build a data warehouse which has meant that we can combine all our service data, with data relating to the national shield list, as well as data on those coming to us for help as they are being impacted by COVID. This has enabled us to quickly develop a vulnerability matrix / scale for children, adults and households. This has been used to proactively contact those whose risks are predicted to increase as a result of COVID, such as children vulnerable to neglect and abuse, as well as those at risk of social isolation, lack of access to basic things such as food and prescriptions, economic vulnerability and financial hardship. Then approach has not only enabled us to proactively contact people and provide support and stay in touch with those most vulnerable, but also prioritise based on risk, and recent interaction with services. This has enabled us to use our resources to greatest effect and ensure people have got support when they have needed it most.

What are the key achievements?

– Those people with the least interaction with services identified on the shield list, and registered a potential need with the national government scheme were contacted for support straight away and prioritised.
– Children identified as being at higher risk and vulnerability were identified and regularly contacted by services for welfare checks and intervention where needed.
– Data was also used to flag people who we had predicted to be at greater risk due to the impacts of COVID that weren’t attending services – such as vulnerable children not attending school.
– This would then trigger a welfare check Social media and targeted campaigns to reduce the risk of COVID were targeted at those with the highest predicted levels of vulnerability and therefore greatest impact from COVID.
– Regular dashboards were able to be produced to show access to service provision and monitor levels of activity and interaction with services to inform effective planning and resourcing.

What are the key learning points?

The design of forms to collate data. Most Local Authorities have had to put processed and services in very quickly with not much thinking time. Give more time, I think some of the data collection processes would have been designed differently, but hindsight and time is a wonderful thing.

COVID-19 Response Recognition Award

The response to the previous application questions is relevant here as well.