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Identifying families in need through Children's Social Care & Early Help Services

Evidence driven decisions

Nottingham City’s Children’s Integrated Services (CIS, including Social Care and Early Help) are responsible for the data capture of family information where there is the need or potential need for intervention or support. Within CIS, the Supporting Families Programme helps identify those families most at need. In providing these families subsequent effective, whole family support at the earliest possible opportunity, escalation into statutory services can be prevented.

Family image - identifying families in need using data

Data validation

One of the requirements of the Supporting Families Programme is a data return to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) which is address based and requires a UPRN. Data sent to the DWP missing a UPRN will not be processed.

In addition to the Supporting Families Programme, the Social Care team maintains a social care case management system containing data, including addresses, on families from a wide range of agencies including external care providers. The quality of address information in the system is variable, with around 88,000 records having unique addresses verified by UPRN and almost 17,500 missing the UPRN where they could not be matched during transfer from a previous case management system, as they fell outside of Nottingha.

Importance of the UPRN

Matching data across partner systems is key to providing appropriate, whole family interventions and ensuring positive outcomes for children. Where the UPRN data is missing, a manual check is required which can take between 5 to 10 minutes per entry. The team also processes information for around 500 families per quarter for a payment by results. Without the UPRN there is a risk that the information required to make a claim would be missing, resulting in missed payments (£800 per family, totalling £456,000 in 2022/2023) or extensive manual checking.

The value of UPRN linking is twofold, it enables data to be instantaneously and accurately linked between different databases and in addition it ensures that payments and claims are submitted in a timely and accurate manner.

Progress to date

Much of the initial address matching in the case management system was undertaken by the council GIS team to automatically match data and add UPRNs with around 160,000 addresses matched in this way. At this point, address updates were also integrated into the business system to ensure accurate addresses for any new records. Based on the time savings identified the estimated total efficiency gain already accrued to the council using the API matching (rather than a manual record check and match procedure) is between £267,000 to £554,000.

Future matching

Records currently missing UPRNs are matched manually on a case by case basis but there are plans by the Social Care and GIS teams to undertake another address matching exercise to clean this data We estimate that the efficiency gain to the council by undertaking this would be in the region of £33,000 to £68,000


Discounting the net benefits from a baseline in 2022, the total impact over the period 2018-2026 is estimated at £0.4 million.

This case study appears alongside several other case studies in a report on a return investment analysis that was carried out with Nottingham City Council.

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