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D2I news for October: Predicting, programming, and a pair of new posts...

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 me and let me know what you’re thinking about.

  1. CLA placement modelling tool (CLA-DMt)

  2. Cut the ChAT (CtC)

  3. Other recent tool updates

  4. Apprenticeship feedback exercise

  5. D2I job opportunities

  6. Credits

1. CLA placement modelling tool (CLA-DMt)

The CLA placement modelling tool is now live on the D2I website. It’s an Excel tool which uses PowerQuery to ingest multiple years of SSDA903 data files, and generates adjustable cost and demand models for different kinds of CLA placements, which it calculates by inspecting transition rates between different sub-categories of CLA. There are three key views – one providing granular forecasts with confidence intervals, one providing historic analysis of SSDA903 data, and one providing a cost model visualising cost expectations based on the model’s predictions, your unit cost inputs, and your expectations of the balance of future placement provision.

We think a lot of LAs will benefit from using this with their commissioning teams, and with that in mind we’re trying to get in touch with commissioning networks as well as with D2I colleagues – if you have commissioning colleagues who approach you about using this tool, or you would like to approach them about using it, and you need any help figuring it out, please do just get in touch and we’ll help. It’s a powerful tool which also makes it important that you feel confident when you’re using it! I’ll also be seeking invitations to regional groups to give a brief demo alongside other D2I updates.

I do think this tool benefits from seeing it working, so I’m going to try and pull together a quick video demo soon, and am happy to help anyone in the meantime with a quick run-through before or after they load data in.

All you need to get started is downloads of your recent years’ SSDA903 files, and a bit of time to play with the workbook to find what works well for your data. As always, feedback is gratefully received so we can make sure that things work well, and that they’re the right things!

2. Cut the ChAT (CtC)

Cut the ChAT is a simple tool to generate a copy of the ChAT which includes only the tabs you want, to reduce the file size, speed up performance, and keep your inbox happy.

It’s a macro-enabled workbook, and it’s separate to the ChAT itself because not all LAs can use macro-enabled workbooks.

The latest version includes tools to automatically create a small ChAT with no personal data for emailing, a “flat” ChAT with personal data for quicker list querying, a comparison tool to quickly compare headline figures across your current and previous runs of your ChAT report, and a data quality report to pull out exception rows from the 11 lists automatically, rather than have you trawl through manually every month. If you can use macros in your LA and you do routine data quality work using the ChAT, this might save you a lot of time.

3. Other recent tool updates

Thanks to everyone who’s been busily reporting bugs, identifying fixes, or just going ahead and recoding tools to make them work better, there are a few more updates to tools now live on the website. The next ChAT and BMt releases will be following the DfE’s coming data publications, so watch out for those. Otherwise, check the version notes below and take a look at any which seem relevant to your work.

  • There’s now a second workbook in this download, which analyses assessment factors in the same way the original workbook analyses cohort membership, so you can investigate any statistical differences in how assessment factors are recorded against children of different ethnicities

  • This macro-enabled workbook can be configured to load your eleven Annex A lists into one of several D2I tool (including the ChAT) more easily and quickly than doing it manually

  • You can now rename the file and keep separate copies set up for your different destination files

  • You can now use it to populate the Child Selector tool (below)

  • A tool to analyse Annex A lists and suggest example children for audit / Ofsted preparation

  • Updated and working for lists 1-10 plus three for inspection themes

  • Now includes a tab for the “Admissions” csv from the 903, to properly calculate the admissions figures

  • There may still be an issue with the discharges figures in this tool – if you’re having problems with this, let me know

  • Courtesy of Walsall, we’ve added our first link out to a Power BI tool which summarises recent Ofsted LA inspections – I found this hugely interesting to play around with so take a look and see what you think (Walsall are planning to keep this updated as Ofsted publish new reports)

4. Apprenticeship feedback exercise

We’re a month into our second apprenticeship cohort, and the first cohort are about a third of the way through their course. We’re working with the course provider to make sure we’re doing the right things to keep the course as beneficial as possible. We’ll be working with the provider over the coming weeks to refine the tailoring of the course and make sure future modules are well-suited to our people (within the framework of the L4 data analyst apprenticeship).

As well as establishing a new management and overview schedule with the provider to do all that, we’re making time to check in with as many apprentices as possible over the coming weeks, and channel feedback from those check-ins into our plans for how we manage the course as it continues. If you don’t hear from us and you’d like to chip in, please email me and someone will be in touch to chat. All feedback will be stored and shared anonymously (or not shared at all if you prefer), and it will all help us make sure the rest of the course is as suitable as possible for you and for future learners.

So if you want to feed into that, please let me know.

5. D2I job opportunities

(Yes, I deliberately put this last)

We won a funding grant from DLUHC (formerly MHCLG) to work together across five regional groups and as many other LAs as would like to participate, to explore and implement the best way we can find to do standardised tracking of early help work. This is a huge and exciting challenge and the majority of the funding is to pay people to co-ordinate this. As such we have two job adverts live right now.

Both can be done as home working roles; both are fixed term two years; both will be working with me and splitting time between working on this early help project (which I’ll also be involved in, as will many of our colleagues around the country) and working to support the core D2I work of maintaining the data tools and community projects. As it says in the adverts, while you will need a certain level of skills and experience to succeed in these roles, we’re less interested in the specific technologies you might “know” than in the capacity to thrive in this kind of work. Links and indicative salaries below:

Data Manager (Data to Insight) - £37,127 - £38,612

Data Analyst (Data to Insight) - £29,594 - £31,968

(It looks like the first time you “accept cookies” on these pages, the site kicks you back to the vacancy list. Select “back” on your browser to recover the advert page!)

6. Credits

Credit for the data tool updates this month is due to colleagues in:

East Sussex

Kingston and Richmond






Waltham Forest


Credit for Cut the ChAT is due to colleagues in:

Data to Insight


East Sussex


Credit for recent progress on the placement demand modelling project is due to colleagues in:



East Sussex


Social Finance

West Midlands Commissioners Group


Richmond and Wandsworth




Credit for the successful DLUHC bid for the early help work is due to colleagues in:

Data to Insight

South East Sector Led Improvement Programme (SESLIP)

East Midlands Data Leads Group (EMDLG)

Association of Directors of Children’s Services North West (ADCS-NW)

Eastern Region Early Help Assistant Directors Group

Association of Directors of Children’s Services North East (ADCS-NE)

Waltham Forest


That’s it! If you have any comments, queries or ideas that you want to share, just let me know, either by email or via our Slack workspace.

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