Last September, I wrote a "first year retrospective" report and shared it with everyone involved in D2I. I wanted to play back all the work we'd done, review our successes and learning points, and outline plans for the following year. This year we're sharing an annual report to all colleagues, which we hope will be the first in a series of reports for the same wide audience. This is one way of many for partners to stay apprised of what D2I is doing, and one opportunity of many to reply with feedback on our objectives and actions.
I aim to eventually align with the financial year for these reports, which means this year's report is a couple of month's earlier than last year's. If you've read last year's report, you'll recognise some of the structure, but hopefully also find useful extra information and some small but significant changes in strategic direction for the coming year.
The most important of those is that, with core funding in place for this year and next, and a roadmap of work extending through that period, we're looking to reprioritise the core toolkit alongside our other projects. We started the previous financial year without a core funding agreement, but we won project funding from DLUHC’s Local Digital Collaboration Unit which enabled us to stretch our core funding through to the end of March 2022 – at the expense of necessitating a split focus for the existing resource between the core D2I work and the new project work. This year, we have a core funding arrangement, so we want to bring the focus closer to the core tools and support which brought our community together in the first place.
This doesn't mean there's no shiny new stuff coming - expect more news soon about our data quality, early help partnership, and demand modelling projects - but it does mean we recognise that the core value we provide to colleagues is in those existing tools which have become integral to children's services data work in many local authorities.
The ChAT, our benchmarking tool, the new RIIA collection, and several other tools all need our careful attention, and we need to think about ways to help colleagues in different LAs share their work and expertise more easily. Undoubtedly the year will bring surprises as it always does - some of which we can guess at, and others we won't yet have imagined - but please do read through our goals for the year and let us know your thoughts via the usual channels.
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