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Data sharing and early intervention

NLPG Exemplar Award Winner – Most Effective Data Sharing Partnership 2009: Nottingham City Council.

Nottingham is Britain’s first ‘Early Intervention (EI) City’. EI was pioneered in the US to tackle inter-generational cycles of disadvantage. In Nottingham this falls to ‘ONE Nottingham’, a strategic partnership for the City which brings together public, private, voluntary and community sector organisations to champion Nottingham’s long term vision of ‘EI, pre-emption and prevention’.

EI is a cross-city programme, facilitating partnership working to improve outcomes for children, young people, adults and families who are very likely to experience difficulties, and to break the inter-generational cycle of problems in the long term.

Another council led initiative, also working under the ONE Nottingham banner, is ‘Contact Point’ (CP), part of the ‘Every Child Matters’ programme. CP is designed to facilitate communications between practitioners from different service agencies to enable them to share information about children in an appropriate and secure way. This online resource enables the stakeholders, schools, council children’s services, the primary care trust, police, and voluntary and community sector organisations to have a single view of a child. Authorised staff can see which organisations are working with the same child, providing a much clearer understanding of the breadth and depth of the problems faced by each individual.

Behind these initiatives lies the understanding that breaking the cycle has become a modern imperative. The number of citizens so affected is increasing, and supporting them in the longer term at current levels of spending is considered unsustainable. Tackling disadvantage earlier on should reduce the need for further costly interventions later – avoiding wider social impacts such as drug and alcohol abuse, absent fathers, crime and antisocial behaviour.

Within Nottingham City Children’s Services and partner organisations, data relating to children and young people is held in a number of business specific systems. To facilitate data sharing under both these initiatives, Nottingham City Council’s Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) was used to check the quality of information held within various systems. Using the LLPG, the systematic programme of work has led to a significant improvement in communications with vulnerable people, ensuring that services are targeted correctly.

An initial comparison with the LLPG saw the number of addresses inside and outside the Local Authority boundary change from 154,000 and 33,000 to 134,000 and 53,000 respectively. Over 5,000 individual address anomalies relating to ‘live clients‘ were resolved. This work underpinned and enabled a consistent referencing framework for subsequent projects and activities, and ensures that there is a sound evidence base for strategy evaluation and cost benefit analysis.

Outcomes

The six strategic partners involved in ONE Nottingham have developed 16 innovative delivery projects within the EI Programme, ranging from ‘Reducing Teenage Pregnancy’ to ‘Homelessness Prevention’ and ‘11-16 Life Skills’.

These EI projects were based, in part, on their ability to have an impact on Nottingham’s Local Area Agreement (LAA) and national performance indicators. The LAA was organised under the core themes of ‘Choose Nottingham’, ‘Respect for Nottingham’, ‘Young Nottingham’, ‘Active and Healthy Nottingham’ and ‘Transforming Nottingham’s Neighbourhoods’.

The results from these projects will transform the way that Nottingham City Council and partner organisations deliver their services. In the future, they will be based on shifting the balance of funding away from dealing with the results of underachievement and deprivation in order to break the intergenerational cycle, and move towards empowering people to transform their lives and to make the right choices for both themselves and their children.

US based outcomes indicate that EI initiatives such as those being employed in Nottingham, can deliver an impressive invest to save ratio of 1:5.

Key benefits

  • NCC’s LLPG underpins and enables a consistent referencing framework for the Council’s EI programme and CP.
  • Data improvements enable savings and efficiencies.
  • Early Intervention projects are directly linked to the LAA and National Performance Indicators.
  • Sound evidence base will inform, and transform the way the council delivers its services in future.
  • Will empower citizens to make the right choices for both themselves and their children.
  • Significant cost-benefit outcomes are predicted.
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