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D2I news for April: outcomes, awards, and arrivals...

Dear Data to Insight colleagues –

Please find below another bundle of news, within which I hope you’ll find something of interest. As always, if you want to talk about this stuff, or have ideas for how we can do useful things – or how you’d like to get involved – then reply to this email and let us know what you’re thinking about.


  1. ChAT and BMt – CIN/CLA Outcomes publication

  2. CIN/903 Excel tools – updated for 2023 returns season

  3. CLA Placement Demand Modelling – web tool live

  4. Standard Safeguarding Dataset – gathering your thoughts

  5. iNetwork Awards – we won!

  6. New colleagues and board members

  7. Upcoming events

  8. Credits

1. Chat and BMt – CIN/CLA Outcomes publication


DfE published Outcomes for Children in Need Including Children Looked After yesterday (Thursday 30/03/2023). The last of the LA-level tables weren’t available until late afternoon, but we’ve now updated the Benchmarking Tool (and ChAT) to incorporate that new data. Download using the links above.


There are a couple of other small tweaks noted in the change log. If you spot anything which looks wrong please let us know by email.



Benchmarking Tool:

  • (3.31) Added Outcomes for CIN including CLA data 2021-22

  • (3.30) Added Ofsted judgements

  • (3.30) Added LAD2.29 to CLA Ceased data

  • (3.30) Added Workforce data 2021-2022


ChAT:

  • (7.05) Added Outcomes for CIN including CLA data 2021-22

  • (7.05) various small bug fixes

  • (7.04) Ofsted inspection data updated to 23/12/22 (publication date - with thanks to Sheffield City Council for compiling)

  • (7.04) Added bank holiday for coronation of King Charles III (8th May)

  • (7.04) Added 24/25 Bank Holidays

  • (7.04) Corrected chart labelling p22 comparisons

  • (7.04) Bug fixes

  • (7.04) Added LAD2.22 2.42 (workforce data) to DataALLLAS (no impact on charts etc)

  • (7.04) Lookups added as requested



2. CIN/903 Excel tools – updated for 2023 returns season



These tools have been updated ready to use as part of statutory return sign-off processes this year. Do let us know if you spot anything untoward – as we’re not actively involved in supporting any statutory returns ourselves, we sometimes need a bit of LA feedback to help us catch everything, but we think we’re up to speed with recent changes. If need be we’ll amend and reissue over the coming weeks.


Best of luck to everyone who’s gearing up for return season – we’ll look forward to speaking again in summer when you’re less busy…



3. CLA Placement Demand Modelling – web tool live



We’ve reached the point we’re going to call the web-based version pf our CLA demand modelling tool “live”!


This is definitely an initial release with room for improvement, but we’re sharing the link and welcoming feedback.


The tool should do the same forecasting and scenario modelling as the Excel tool we launched last year, but in a much easier to use interface. It was built using the same Python/Pyodide approach as our CIN and 903 validation sites, which means it takes no data off site, and requires no installation of software to use it – everything runs in your local browser. To get started, select your LA, point the tool at your local SSDA903 files (the more years of history, the better, but even with just a year or two it will still work), and then use the parameter selection on the left sidebar and the interactive controls on the charts to get at your analysis.


The project was a collaborative effort hosted by East Sussex County Council, with technical expertise from D2I and Social Finance. If you spot anything that looks wrong, do send us an email so we can check it. We’ll now be looking to gather feedback on how well it works and what’s missing, so we can continue to refine and extend the functionality. The first big thing on the list is to turn this into a regional tool, which we’re piloting with two regions this summer. We think regional demand modelling is a necessary next step to make the forecasts more useful so we’re excited to see how it works out.



4. Standard Safeguarding Dataset – gathering your thoughts


(Next Show-and-Tell – Thursday 20th April)


We’re helping develop a new “standard safeguarding dataset” in a national DfE-backed project led by Hertfordshire, Essex, Knowsley, the regional groups for London and the North West, and us in D2I. We’ve been busy with user research this month, before beginning collaborative design of the dataset specification over the summer. To help gather initial perspectives, we’ve been holding two workshops and doing one-to-one interviews, but we are eager to offer the chance to input to as many people as possible, so we’ve turned our workshop script into an online survey. The survey deadline is 30/04/2023 – this is important because we need time to analyse the outputs before the next phase of the project.


The survey kicks off with questions about how effective different areas of our data gathering are right now, before moving on to looking at the kind of outcomes we might want to help young people achieve, and asking how well we’re able to use data to understand whether or not we’re helping in each case. If you can spare 20 minutes to work through the survey, this would be a huge help to our work and ensure that we focus our efforts through the rest of the project on the areas which need the most attention. Through doing this, we hope to deliver a really useful product back to DfE and LA colleagues for further consideration.


We’re also doing monthly show-and-tell sessions for the project, hosted by colleagues at the DfE. If you’d like to attend, please email us and we’ll forward on the recurring invitation.



5. iNetwork awards – we won!




I joined colleagues from Wigan Council at the iNetwork awards earlier this month, and we were delighted to win the iStandUK award for effective use of data standards. This project with Wigan Council (and co-conspirators from a couple of dozen other councils) developed the SSDA903 validation tool and CIN validation tool, using existing standard datasets to enable collaboration between colleagues all over the country.


This is testament to how valuable everyone’s contributions are to making life easier and outputs better in our data work. Congratulations are deserved by all our colleagues who’ve been involved in this work in whatever way. The project continues apace – if you’re interested in contributing to shared, LA-coded Python analytical tools via our “Patch” project, do email us for more information about opportunities for learning.



6. New colleagues and board members


Our governance document is due a refresh, because Adam and Alastair are both leaving the D2I board. Adam and Alastair have been involved in D2I since before it had a name – they helped bring the ChAT into existence, they helped get the longer term project off the ground, and their advice and expertise over the last three years has been so invaluable that simply saying “thank you” here doesn’t quite do it justice. They’re a large part of the reason I’m writing this newsletter at all, and we all hope they’ll stay in touch.


In terms of D2I’s board of directors, we’ll be sorry to lose both voices, but both are adamant that their “seats” should be occupied by people who are currently “doing the doing” in their respective contexts, so we’re really happy to have found some fantastic new colleagues to welcome into D2I’s leadership: Sam, Emma, Clare and Kevin.


These changes should help us continue balancing the broad range of views we need to keep doing our work, while also continuing to prioritise the views of LA data professionals and service leads in our strategic decision-making. We’ve already had our first board meeting with our new members and so far everything’s going swimmingly.


Last but not least, to support the Standard Safeguarding Dataset project and in recognition of the sheer volume of work currently happening, we’ve recruited two new Data Managers to our central D2I team. Expect to hear more from Joe and Rob soon – they’ll be working on the standard safeguarding dataset specification, as well as helping support the core toolkit and everything else we do. They each bring a whole range of valuable skills, experiences and viewpoints to the team and we’re looking forward to finding out how we all work together.



7. Upcoming workshops and presentations – next open house


We’ll be running another D2I “open house” team meeting on 17th May at 13:00 – this is an informal meeting where we bring along a couple of interesting (to us) technical or strategic challenges we’ve been working on and share our working with the D2I team. It’s open to all LA colleagues to come along and listen in, join the conversation, or suggest things they’d like to share from their own work. If you’d like to join us for this or future meetings, just email us.


If you have something interesting you’d like to share at the meeting, we’d really welcome that – just let us know how much time you’d want to talk through it.


We also ran an introduction session to our core tools last month, and it was so well-received that we’re going to run it again on a periodic basis for newcomers or anyone who needs a refresher – with the next one probably later this year. The session is designed to give an overview of the tools and how to get the most out of them, and will be of particular interest if you have colleagues new to children’s services data, or data/performance work in general, as well as anyone who just doesn’t “get” one or other of our tools. For an invitation, just get in touch.


8. Credits

Credit for recent improvements to our data tools is due to colleagues in:


Ofsted

Wandsworth

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

Luton

Stockton

Hertfordshire

DFE

Manchester

NWADCS

Essex

ADCS

Trafford

Waltham Forest

Coram

University of Sussex

Newham

Knowsley

LIIA

Wigan

York

That’s it! If you have any comments, queries or ideas that you want to share, just let me know.

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