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D2I news for March: modelling demand, moving home, and more...

Dear all ChAT group members –

As Data to Insight Manager, I’m here to support development of our data tools and the communities we form around them. 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 by all means reply to this email and let me know what you’re thinking about. In the meantime, I have some updates to offer. It’s a shorter update than usual, not because there’s less going on, but because I want to highlight the most important points this time and especially make sure you don’t miss the move to the new website. Expect a deluge of smaller news next time around…

  1. Demand Modelling Tool 2021

  2. Apprenticeships

  3. Credits

1. Demand Modelling Tool 2021

With thanks to several LAs for contributing feedback at very short notice, we’re today sharing the Demand Modelling Tool 2021, which we hope will help you prepare for an imminent end to 2021’s first lockdown. You can download the tool HERE.

Where last year’s tool was constrained by the fact that we lacked prior experience of the impact of lockdown on CSC front doors, this year we have last year’s data as a reference point. As such we’ve rewritten the tool to function quite differently (you can still access last year’s tool in its usual place, if you find that tool useful – this one won’t replace it). This year’s tool asks for more historical data – if you can run an extract of “Annex A” list 3, going back 2 or ideally 3 years into the past, it will generate a “seasonality” model to understand normal ebbs and flows of demand in the calendar year, then look at how that changed during 2020’s main lockdown period, and apply those changes to the current/future lockdown period. All the dates are editable by you to suit local contexts.

Send me any feedback as you work with the tool, and let me know if you’d be interested in joining the feedback/development group for a future stage of work – we want to build on this fresh start to try and establish a tool we can use to model demand across the CSC system into the future, whether it’s lockdowns we’re worrying about or something else entirely.

Please note that this tool won’t be on khub. If you genuinely cannot get access to to download this tool, please reply to this email and I will send you a copy and set you up an account ready for when your IT service unblocks the website. The last thing we want is to prevent people using the tool, but we can’t keep running two sites in parallel and really believe is going to make life better for our community.

Following directly from the above, and with no particular fanfare, we’re declaring to be live and open for business! We have 75 members already, as plenty of people have taken up the offer to register early and send me feedback. Hopefully you will find the site easier to navigate and less annoying with updates than the khub. Once you have created a member account, you can Configure notifications so that you only hear about the tools and updates you want to hear about. Once you’ve done that, use the Tools page to get at the data tools, take a look at Collaboration for an overview of ways to get involved and help Data to Insight deliver value, and of course let me know by email if you have ideas for improvements.

This will be where we host our data tools exclusively in future, so you’ll need to be able to access this site to get a copy of the ChAT and other tools. Please ensure you can access the site from your network. If you’re interested in why we’re moving, and how we designed the site, there’s a blog post outlining the key features here.

3. Apprenticeships

The CS data analyst apprenticeship has proved even more popular than we hoped, and following the deadline for applications we are now oversubscribed for the first cohort – we wanted to see 20-30 people sign up, and we got more than 40, with plenty more saying they’d like to join up later. After much hard work on the provider’s part, we were able to agree that everyone who got an application in on time would be able to start the programme in March. The kick-off for the first cohort is on 24/03/2021. The provider keeps saying how enthusiastic everyone is about the opportunity, and how great our community has been at helping to tailor the course to our sector.

This means we’re in a great place to start planning a second cohort and there’ll be more to share about that soon. If you’d like to know more, you can register your interest here.

4. Credits

Credit for the Demand Modelling Tool 2021 is due to colleagues in the following organisations:

Brighton & Hove Council

Data to Insight

East Sussex County Council

Greater Manchester Combined Authority

Isle of Wight Council

Kent County Council

Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government

Social Finance

Slough Borough Council

Wandsworth Borough Council

York City Council

Credit for the apprenticeships course tailoring is due to:

Too many LAs to count, but especially Walsall Council who are working at creating some “dummy” datasets for learners to use

Special thanks also to the following LAs who have chipped in with advice, bug fixes, testing support, and other such help over the last few weeks:

Slough Borough Council

Wandsworth Council


Bristol Council


Warrington Council

Stockton Borough Council

Medway Borough Council

Southwark Council

Darlington Borough Council

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

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