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Developing Recipes for Success

The Essex Data (ED) programme is concerned with understanding and pre-empting potential future demand on public services by sharing and using data to create a unique insight that will enable us to make changes that will prevent demand occurring. If agencies can use this unique insight to then target our diminishing resources collectively and effectively to intervene early, then we will have achieved something very exciting.

The first ED prototype has been an innovative process that can be likened to creating a recipe that will result in a new and delicious pudding; it is both a science and an art. 1. Using modern technology combine a range of public agency data and run through a predictive risk algorithm. 2. Gather meaningful insight by immersing yourself into the problem and or community you want to serve. 3. Prepare all other local ingredients; let’s call them “community assets”, at your disposal. 4. Finally, bring everything together to co-produce a recipe for success. 5. Bake for the allotted period of time and taste for deliciousness, taking care to evaluate any modifications before you share that particular recipe with others to bake.

This first prototype (or recipe!), which focuses on children in Basildon getting the best start in life, has been challenging on many fronts. Firstly because of the complexity and scale of the concept we are trying to prove i.e. predicting future demand and preventing that demand from occurring. Secondly, convincing the sceptics who challenged whether this innovative approach would really deliver anything different to that we could already do, and lastly, the fear of failure; culture dictates failure as weakness but we remain steadfast that some failure is okay and indeed inevitable if we are to transform the way we do things to serve the public well.

It’s been three years since Essex Partners started the ED programme and in that time many things have happened including two General Elections, four new IPhone models, underdogs Leicester winning the Premiership and of course, not forgetting, three Great British Bake Off finals. However, in that time we have also achieved something great, and processed stages 1 - 3 of our first recipe, that is a multi-agency predictive data dashboard, community insight and a community asset register, we are now concluding the really exciting stages 4 and 5; co-producing and delivering solutions with the people we are trying to serve.

There are other ED ‘recipes’ in development, but for now this first pudding is in the oven and our taste buds are now anticipating the outcome; “the proof of the pudding” as someone once said “is in the eating”. (Miguel de Cervantes) and I for one can’t wait to taste the result!

You can find out more about ED by watching this short animation; on the right of this page.

Read more about Essex Data here.

Clare Burrell

Head of Commissioning People Essex County Council

Member of the Essex Data Programme Board

3 November 2017