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Tackling issues earlier through smarter use of data

Too often issues are only dealt with when a crisis occurs. A child is excluded from school for disruptive behaviour. An elderly man ends up in Accident and Emergency after having a fall. Police are called out to a domestic abuse incident within a home.

As organisations working across Essex to deliver public services, we know that early intervention can prevent issues escalating which is better for the people affected and less expensive for the taxpayer.

The Essex Data (ED) programme began as a pilot in 2016, funded by a grant awarded to Essex Partners to support system wide transformation. The Essex Data Programme  brought together people and technology to offer a way for Councils, Police, health and voluntary and community organisations in Essex to use the power of data to tackle some of our most challenging issues.

ED was the first time that partners from across the public sector in Essex came together to share and use data to predict what challenges the future holds. A tool has been developed in partnership with PredictX to store and match the data and allows us to combine multiple sets of data from different organisations, for example schools, social workers and hospitals, and share the information safely and without identifying individuals. The data can be regularly refreshed to provide a dynamic picture and to refine risk predictions.

During the pilot the tool was tested within different services in Essex so we could understand the potential of this type of technology to address some of our big challenges, such as predicting school readiness, preventing escalating domestic abuse, identifying organised gang activity, and understanding A&E admissions and use the insight to transform the way public services work together. 

Now organisations from across Essex can safely share and analyse anonymous data they hold about communities and use it to drive decisions they make. With this predictive insight we are able to intervene early and design and deliver services that help improve people’s lives. By targeting services such as health, and delivering help early, we can reduce risk and prevent negative outcomes. We can also target our services more accurately, so with hard to tackle issues such as Domestic Abuse we can ensure that the right people are receiving the support they need. In 2016-17 public services spent more than £16 billion on ‘late intervention’ services such as education, health, housing, benefits, community safety and criminal justice.

Find out how our data journey continued after the Essex Data pilot concluded. 

Last updated 02/07/18


Learn how Essex Data is helping us to predict those at future risk by watching this short animation