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D2I news for May: Statutory return season, and other stories...

Dear Data to Insight colleagues –

Please find below another bundle of news which I hope you’ll find interesting.

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. In the meantime:

  1. Statutory return prediction tools

  2. Disproportionality calculator

  3. ChAT and BMt mini-updates

  4. Demand Modelling – please download your SSDA903 XML files

  5. Apprenticeships briefing sessions

  6. Credits

1. Statutory return prediction tools

We’ve updated the statutory return prediction tools for 2021, so you can now download these from the website and load in your 2021 returns to get an advance sense of what your published statistics might look like later this year. Some LAs also find these very useful as part of the statutory return sign-off process each year. Use the links below to go and investigate:

SSDA903 Statutory Returns Predictor | Data to Insight

CIN Census Statutory Returns Predictor | Data to Insight

2. Disproportionality calculator

The Disproportionality Calculator lets you paste a breakdown (by ethnicity) of a cohort of your choosing, and compare this to the general population in your area. This helps with exploring how proportionately or disproportionately different groups of children are represented in various cohorts. Many thanks to Jean Mallo for developing and sharing this.

You can download the tool now from the link below:

Disproportionality Calculator | Data to Insight

If you have feedback on the tool, please contact us.

3. ChAT and BMt mini-updates

I’m afraid I now have yet another mini-update of the BMt, plus a ChAT which has been updated to match. Shortly after the surprise release of new statistical neighbours, we had a surprise re-release of the long-term placement stability measures from the CLA outcomes data, due to a calculation error at the DfE. Several LAs were concerned about their new numbers for this measure, so this may be one that you want to revisit with the corrected data for 2018 and 2019, as there are certainly some different stories in the data following those corrections (2020 data remains unchanged).

As noted in my earlier email about statistical neighbours, it’s worth also checking that any local tools you have are updated to match the new statistical neighbour lists.

Benchmarking Tool (BMt) | Data to Insight

  • (13.5) Fixed Richmond's "N/A" values in workforce benchmarking data, to enable stat neighbour calculations to function correctly for all LAs

  • (13.5) Fixed Long term stability measure in CLA data release following DfE republication (affects 2018 and 2019 datasets)

  • (13.4) Updated statistical neighbours in line with DfE publication of 01/04/2021

  • (13.3) Added CIN/CLA Outcomes 2019-20 LA-level data

  • (13.3) Added 2019-20 Workforce data

  • (13.3) Added Adoption Scorecards 2016-19 LA-level data

  • (13.3) Added "Latest local" input on the "Charts" tab – you can now more easily include (and name) a local data point in the trend charts

  • (13.3) Added "Charts (2)" tab containing single-year ranking chart:

ChAT | Data to Insight

  • (6.7) Fixed monthly CP re-reg calculation (was looking at new regs which are re-regs, as a % of open cases; should have been, and now is, looking at new regs which are re-regs, as % of registrations that month)

  • (6.7) Fixed Long term stability measure in CLA data release following DfE republication (affects 2018 and 2019 datasets)

  • (6.5) Updated statistical neighbours in line with DfE publication of 01/04/2021

  • (6.4) Fixed RIA dataset calculation for NFA assessments - was previously counting 6 months, not 3

  • (6.4) Fixed date formatting in child level lists - should all now be set to force UK format dates

  • (6.4) Reduced dataset on ChAT trend charts to show last 5 years (previously 6)

  • (6.4) Reduced dataset on ChAT MONTHLY trend charts to show last 4 years (previously 6)

  • (6.4) Charts in ChAT_MONTHLY, and monthly items in Benchmarking tab, now refer to "Report date" on HOME tab (cell E14) to identify previous 6 month period (was previously "today"); to report on full months, run your Annex A to the end of the previous full month, and set the report date to either the last day of that month or the first day of the following month; report dates in first half of month will ignore current month whereas report dates in second half of month will include it

4. Demand modelling - please download your SSDA903 XML files

In March we shared the Demand Modelling Tool 2021, trying to help prepare for an imminent end to 2021’s lockdown. You can download the tool HERE, if it’s still relevant to your work.

We’re now gearing up for a longer project through this year to build on what we learned to date, and draw in more voices from LAs interested in demand modelling. We’ve done user research with lots of different LAs, including people from this group and their service managers, directors, and commissioning managers. The goal is to produce an operational tool similar to the ChAT which will continue to be useful into the future, not just around COVID issues.

Based on the user research, we think that project will focus on LAC activity, particularly placement strategy, and the best data source for understanding trends in this will be the SSDA903 return.

As such, please download your historical SSDA903 XML files from the return site before it closes at the end of this return period. We know that some LAs do this as a matter of course, but others don’t. Downloading the files is straightforward, and you can keep them safe for future reference during the year while the return site is unavailable. If you download the last 5 years of XML files, you’ll have what you need to use our next demand modelling tool.

If you want to get involved in the project or keep a closer eye on it, let me know.

5. Apprenticeships

Our first cohort of apprentices have started learning, and we’re busily ironing out the kinks in the programme – so far, mostly local issues with installing relevant software! Given how much interest there was in the first cohort, we’ve announced a second cohort to start around September time this year, as well as an in-between cohort for part-time employees, starting in July.

It can take some time to get over the various procurement hurdles, so we’ll be looking to get started enrolling people sooner rather than later. There are briefing sessions on the dates below; if you’d like to attend one, or if you just want an application form, let me know.

• 25th May at 10am

• 3rd June at 2pm

• 9th June at 2pm

6. Credits

Credit for the statutory return prediction tool updates is due to colleagues in the following organisations:

Wandsworth Borough Council

Data to Insight

Credit for the Disproportionality calculator is due to colleagues in the following organisations:

Wandsworth Borough Council

Credit for the Benchmarking Tool’s fancy new visualisation is due to colleagues in the following organisation:

Data to Insight

East Sussex County Council

London Borough of Newham

Wandsworth Borough Council

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

Birmingham Children’s Trust

Calderdale Council

Derby City Council

Dudley Council

Durham Council

London RIAA

Department for Education

Shropshire County Council

Social Finance

East Sussex County Council

Stockton Borough Council

West Sussex County Council

Surrey Council

Walsall Council

Credit for the apprenticeships course tailoring is due to:

Too many LAs to count, but especially Walsall Council who provided “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:

Ealing Borough Council

Buckinghamshire County Council

Medway Borough Council

London Borough of Southwark

Dorset Council

Brent Council

Durham Council

Nottingham City Council

London Borough of Waltham Forest


Croydon 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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