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The faces behind ecda

People are at the heart of ecda; uniting us and moving us towards the big things that matter to all of us; a county where everyone thrives.

Creating a Centre of Excellence for data sharing in Essex takes talent! Data Scientists, Data Analysts, Data Developers, information governance, ethics, project management, research and engagement expertise are all required to enable Essex to bring together and safely and ethically share data that generates new insight on some of our most challenging issues such as homelessness, domestic abuse, gang violence, physical inactivity and mental health crisis.

ecda's core team work together with colleagues from Essex County Council, Essex Police and the University of Essex make up team ecda! The team are committed to listening, working together, sharing our skills, knowledge and expertise to amplify the great work that takes places across public services in Essex to deliver action that creates the kind of Essex we all want to live, learn and work in.

Ordinarily we think we’re a pretty good-looking bunch, with a great sense of humour, but our virtual team meeting pics (see right) don’t do us justice!

Here, a few of the team members share their thoughts on data culture, collaboration, capabilities and ninja turtles!

David Caplan, Head of ecda: "I’ve worked with data across the public sector for years, but ecda provides a unique opportunity to have a direct impact on public services by working  with diverse and interesting partners to make the best use of all of our data." 

Emma Sparrow, Senior Project Support for ecda: "After learning about ecda’s vision I knew right away it was something I wanted to be part of. It’s really exciting to work with such a range of partners and to see the opportunities we all have to make a difference within Essex!"

Clare McLean, Communications & Engagement Manager for ecda: “The exciting opportunity for the Essex Centre for Data Analytics is that it can combine data with the experience of people and communities across Essex to create powerful insight and inform key decisions about our county’s future.”

Tom Aldworth, Intelligence Manager at Essex County Council is the delivery lead, managing a team of analysts that work across ecda’s portfolio of projects. Tom’s career path was inspired at an early age by the Ninja Turtles! “I learned from early on that I was more like Donatello than the other turtles; using evidence and logic to tackle issues facing the team. When I discovered I couldn’t be a turtle, I thought I may as well work in data science.”

Stephen Simpkin, Data Science Fellow, Essex County Council: “Data is an asset. But only when used effectively. Skilled analysts can help find data driven solutions to improve public services and quality of life. The bigger the pool of analysts at our disposal the more impact we can have. ecda has brought together analysts from across the county to share work, learning and skills so that we can benefit from each other’s strengths.”

For Nicki Mallett, Head of Profession Data & Analytics, Essex County Council, data and analytics is a team sport. “Partnership working, data sharing and using data for social good, is more important than ever. ecda’s ability to share crucial data safely and ethically with districts and health partners enables us to ensure the most extremely vulnerable residents are supported, and there’s no greater reward.”

Exploring how data analytics can prevent crime by enabling Essex Police to intervene early and protect people from harm is a valuable opportunity for Essex, says Mark Johnson, Head of Analytics for Essex Police, and team ecda’s kind, curious Geordie. Mark has been leading ecda’s work on gang violence and vulnerability to enable evidence based decisions that drive preventative solutions.

Jen Housego, Head of Digital Change for Essex Police provides ethical expertise and strategic direction for ecda. Jen has successfully implemented ecda’s Data Ethics Committee, Essex’s first independent ethics resource providing guidance and rigour across ecda’s projects and procedures.

Alex Quiroz Flores, Chief Scientific Advisor and Reader for the University of Essex. “It is a privilege to work with colleagues as part of ecda, to map the current set of data science and analytical skills within the Essex system, and as ecda continues to mature to identify opportunities for further growth.”

We're a very social group, who love talking to colleagues and joining the dots in our work! Join us at one of our future Be Part of the Equation networking events, drop us a line at ecda@essex.gov.uk and we'll add you to the list.