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 me know what you’re thinking about.
RIIA Quarterly – clarifications and adjustments (workforce and care leavers)
Apprenticeships deadline approaching
Standard Safeguarding Dataset – new project and D2I job opportunity
iNetwork awards nomination – click to vote for us
Upcoming events – open house and core tools workshop
1. RIIA Quarterly Benchmarking Tool – clarifications and adjustments (workforce and care leavers)
The newly standardised RIIA quarterly data collection is up and running for in-year national benchmarking, and this is the second of our quarterly data releases. it takes a little while (up to around 70 seconds) to recalculate when you first select your LA and region from the home page, but thereafter it should run smoothly.
In support of the recent Safeguarding Pressures 8 report by the ADCS, which is well worth reading in its own right, we’ve added charts comparing regions against each other to provide that national context. We’ve also made a few other changed which you can check in the version log.
2023 Q2 v1.2 - Amended workforce data for some regions/LAs
2023 Q2 v1.2 - Added "compare regions" charts
2023 Q2 v1.2 - Amended care leaver population figure and Ofsted judgements
2023 Q2 v1.2 - "Historical vs latest" charts can now be adjusted to choose any historical quarter
We also have a couple of clarifications to make based on recent feedback:
Workforce data is collected a quarter in arrears of the other measures. When you sent us your Q2 data, you would also have been sending Q1 workforce data. Some regions, and some LAs, opted to collect workforce data at the same time as the other measures, so for some LAs we received Q2 workforce data with the other Q2 measures. We have tried to align these data returns according to the quarter name indicated by your regional data lead, but we’re aware some are misaligned. We’re working with regional data leads to address this and sharing “beta” copies of the tool at the above link as we make changes.
Care leaver data should continue, for this year, to match the Annex A specification as it was at the start of this year. This is to ensure that quarterly figures are comparable across the year. We’re interested in feedback on whether we should adapt to include those children in the new Annex A specification who are still looked after. We’ve issued an updated collection sheet with a clarification in the measure definition to this effect (link above).
SEN data definitions have been amended to remove confusing references to codes which have been removed from the 2023 SEN2 specification.
Note that use of this unvalidated in-year data is governed by a Memorandum of Understanding between LAs and regions across the country. Do not use this data, and especially do not share it further, until you have first understood the terms of that use within your LA. The short version is that you can use this data to inform local decision making but cannot publish it.
2. Apprenticeships deadline approaching
Cohort 4 briefing session: youtube video
Applications are now open with a deadline of 23rd January for the initial application - but there’s space for the odd late application, so if you’re at all interested do get in touch and we can talk about whether or not you’d find it useful, and look at enrolling over the next week or two. Enrolment will take until mid-February, and learning will commence mid-March.
The D2I apprenticeship is a tailored Level 4 Data Analyst apprenticeship, working with data and questions co-developed by the D2I community and delivered by a professional apprenticeship/training organisation called Corndel. The course aims to teach advanced analytical concepts and practices which we think data analysts should be familiar with. While the technical toolkit is primarly Python and SQL with some Power BI, the important learning is how to do the analysis, which you can then transfer to your local context and use to improve the ways we work with safeguarding data.
We’ve done a lot of work since the scheme launched in 2020 to refine and adjust based on learner feedback with the intention that the course keeps getting better while continuing to deliver the same core learning goals and help LA colleagues develop industry-standard data analysis skills. The course is funded in full by your organisation’s Apprenticeship Levy, meaning the only cost to your employer is the 20% of your working time which you’ll be spending learning and applying that learning to work-related challenges.
3. Standard Safeguarding Dataset – new project and D2I job opportunity
The DfE has been contacting LAs who bid for money from their Digital and Data Solutions Fund for next year, and we’re working with DfE to share a list of LA contacts for each project so people can get in touch and offer to be involved with each.
In the meantime, I’m really delighted that we secured money for D2I to develop a new “standard safeguarding dataset”. The project will be led by Hertfordshire, Essex, Knowsley, the regional groups for London and the North West, and us in D2I. To that end, we’ll be kicking off with user research in February and March, before beginning collaborative design of the dataset specification over the summer. If you already know you’d like to be involved, let me know by email.
We’re also hoping to recruit another colleague, initially on a 12-15 month basis. This will be, as with all our work, a mix of technical data work and co-ordinating collaboration projects. The new starter will work with me and our multi-LA steering group, as well as the wider D2I team who will have been working on defining our data development goals through user research with LAs.
As with all our roles, the JD asks for everything we could possibly want for the role; don’t be scared off by this! After selecting a successful candidate, we will work as a team and rearrange our time and tasks to best fit the mix of skills and interests in the team. So if you can do everything, that’s brilliant, but if you feel you’re stronger in some areas than others then we’re still interested to hear from you, and I will be happy to adjust my role to best support the right candidate, both in focusing on their strengths and developing where they want. We’re a small team at D2I, and we’re developing a culture of curiosity and improvement; the team all have access to training resources, peer support, and flexible working arrangements including the option to work from an office or home.
There’s more detail about the role at the above link, but if you have any questions do just email me to set up a chat. Equally, I’m sure the rest of the team would be happy to talk about their experience of working here, too, if you’d find that useful.
PLEASE NOTE: the job advert should be visible at the above link right now, but applications won’t open until Monday 23/01 at the earliest.
4. iNetwork awards nomination – click to vote for us
Please click the above link and vote for us to help share our success through the iNetwork awards. iNetwork is a public sector collaboration organisation, and so it’s an especially good place to show off the kind of stuff we do.
Our project with Wigan Council (and co-conspirators from around a dozen other councils!), to develop the SSDA903 validation tool and this year’s coming CIN validation tool, is on the list of nominations for the iNetwork awards in their iStandUK data standards category. You can help us by scrolling to the blue boxes at the above link, and voting for our entry under the title "Quality Safeguarding Data Platform".
There are also loads of other interesting projects worth looking at on the list, including others from Wigan and also things like the Family Context project in Stockport.
5. Upcoming workshops and presentations – next open house
We’re hosting an introduction session to our core tools on February 14th 12:00 – 13:00. 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. We’ll be looking at:
For an invitation, please email - if you can’t make the time but would have been interested, let us know and we’ll consider running these again in future.
We’ll also be running another D2I “open house” team meeting on 15th March 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 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.
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.
Credit for recent improvements to our data tools is due to colleagues in:
North West ADCS
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
Cheshire West and Chester
That’s it! If you have any comments, queries or ideas that you want to share, just let me know.