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D2I news for September: Sharing, studying, and standardising...

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. D2I Apprenticeship – cohort #5 launching now

  2. RIIA Quarterly – Q1 data now available

  3. Early Help Benchmarking – Q1 data launch (for members)

  4. ChAT – August (care leaver) release, plus minor fixes

  5. Standard Safeguarding Dataset – identifying new data

  6. Website refresh

  7. Upcoming events

  8. Credits

1. D2I Apprenticeship – cohort #5 launching now

Briefing session: Monday 18th September at 13:00

Briefing session: Tuesday 26th September at 13:00

Our apprenticeship, delivered in partnership with Corndel, is now open for applications, with learning to commence in November of this year. The programme is designed to enable local authorities to build data science capability in Children’s Services teams, and empower individual analysts to improve their skills and progress in their careers. It’s fully funded via the Apprenticeship Levy and specifically tailored to help analysts improve children’s services.

We’re hosting two briefing sessions to provide prospective learners or managers with an overview of the course and a chance to speak directly to the apprenticeship provider before deciding whether to enrol. You can email us asking for an Outlook invitation to either session.

This is a great opportunity for the right candidates to get government funded training and a formal qualification. Our first cohort has now graduated and I’ve had several messages from colleagues who’ve gone on to promotions or new roles with help from the skills they learned. I’ve also heard from managers whose team members are using their new skills on the job to help their teams work better. Do consider joining one of the briefing sessions if you think this may be of interest to you.

2. RIIA Quarterly – Q1 data now available

We’ve now updated the RIIA Quarterly Benchmarking Tool with Q4 data for 2022-23. Full change list below:

  • 2024 Q1 Data added in for all regions, plus amendments to previous quarters where provided

  • Added Cumberland & Westmorland and Furness

  • Amended population for measure 226 SW establishment, was showing incorrect age group

  • Added new measure 20207 throughout tool

  • Bug fix on stat neighbours rate chart

Please note that the X codes filters can currently take a long while to load (we’re thinking about how to improve this – suggestions welcome), and the comparison will only include LAs who have provided exactly the same answer(s) for the selected X code(s). You may want to set calculation to manual while setting up comparisons to avoid recalculation on every individual selection.

3. Early Help Benchmarking – Q1 data launch (for members)

We’re now ready to share the very first Early Help benchmarking data from our partnership project, covering Q1 2023-24. This is an all-new, optional quarterly benchmarking process designed to deliver as much value as possible with as little administrative burden. Approximately 50 councils have data in this first draft of the tool, with more interested in contributing next quarter and beyond. We’re also in conversation with DLUHC and ADCS about potential routes to national adoption of some or all of these measures, but, for the time being, only LAs who contribute data to the collection will get access to the benchmarking data.

The first version of the tools is necessarily fairly sparse – we only have one quarter’s worth of data, because we’ve never tried to gather this kind of comparative data before. We’d really welcome feedback and ideas on how to present data in this tool to make it as useful as possible; at present it’s modelled on the RIIA benchmarking tool.

If your LA is participating, you’ll receive a separate email very soon sharing the benchmarking tool. We’re working through existing site members at to try and ensure that everyone working at a participating LA will have access, but if you need to add more members you can do so by emailing us for help. This collection is open to any LA – not just our original partners for developing the project – and we’ll be collecting Q2 data in October/November.

4. ChAT – August (care leaver) release, plus minor fixes

I wrote separately in August to share a ChAT update including new pages covering the expanded care leaver cohort. With thanks to colleagues who tested this over the summer, we’re now sharing another update with some minor fixes.

· (7.10) Slightly altered care leaver date charts for pathway plans and contacts

· (7.10) Fixed ChAT monthly 'rates of open' charts for CiN/CP/CLA in ChAT Monthly tab

· (7.10) Amended care leaver eligibilty table highlight colour

· (7.10) Updated Ofsted inspection outcomes in CustomGroup tab

· (7.10) Updated new Care leaver charts to include total % where appropriate

· (7.09) Care leaver changes – revised section to include extra charts

· (7.09) Amended error on list 10 - column AX (placed/waiting to be placed)

· (7.09) Amended calculation for 16-18 CLA remaining until 18th birthday for 20/21 to align with other years

· (7.09) Amended error on RIIA calculations - where quarter end date was not accounting for dates with timestamp - miscounting activity on final day of quarter

As always, if you spot anything amiss, or have ideas for how to further improve this or any of our tools, please do get in touch.

5. Standard safeguarding dataset – identifying new data

We’re helping develop a new standard safeguarding dataset in a DfE-backed project led by Hertfordshire, Essex, Knowsley, the regional groups for London and the North West, and us in D2I. We’ve been grappling with defining the new dataset, and we’re also now thinking about finding partners to work with us on writing and testing data extracts from each of the case management systems that LAs use. Most pressingly, we’re engaging on identifying and specifying “new” data items which aren’t in existing data collections (or, in some cases, many systems).

We’ve held several workshops to map out those “new” data items, and they’ve been really illuminating. We’ll be sharing a full summary in due course. If you’d missed previous invitations and would like to contribute, the remaining workshop dates are:

  • Friday 8th September at 2pm

  • Tuesday 12th September at 1.30pm

  • Wednesday 20th September at 10.30am

We’ll also be holding a session specifically for social work experts via the British Association of Social Workers (BASW), with a date to be arranged in October.

Please email us for an invitation to any of these. You’re also very welcome to send us thoughts by email, or by using the feedback form on our draft data schema page.

6. Website refresh

If you’ve stopped by lately, you may have noticed that it looks different. The change was prompted by the fact that our old top-level navigation menu simply didn’t work with the breadth of material we now have on the site – the only way to find some things was to follow the direct links we provided in these newsletters and elsewhere. Beyond the menu, the changes are mostly for accessibility reasons.

The new menu structure should be self-explanatory, and all old links should still work fine, but if you do spot anything that look amiss, or need any help finding your way around, please let us know and we’ll take a look.

7. Upcoming events

D2I open house / core tools workshops – email John for an invitation to either

(Next open house: Wednesday 20/09/2023 at 13:00)

Python workshops – email Will for an invitation

(Running weekly on Thursday and Friday afternoons)

SSD Show and tells – email Rob for an invitation

Our “open house” meeting is a regular chance to drop in on a D2I team meeting where we share what we’re working on and talk about how best to help with data work. We try to cover a mix of “technical” and other work. This week, we’ll run through our work-in-progress to change the care leaver sections of ChAT, and then if we have time we’ll take a quick look at how Patch is shaping up, or discuss SEND benchmarking, or take questions from the group.

Separately, Will continues to run Python drop-in workshops on Thursday and Friday afternoons. There’s currently a mix of beginners and more experienced learners joining the sessions, so it’s a good time to get involved if you were looking at learning to code. Will’s also going to do some sessions soon on incorporating SQL in a Python workflow, which may be of interest. For more information, please get in touch by email.

And we’re still also doing monthly show-and-tell sessions for the “standard safeguarding dataset” project, hosted by colleagues at the DfE. If you’d like to attend either the open house or those show-and-tells, please email and we’ll forward on the relevant invitation(s).

8. Credits

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



North West ADCS




Westmorland & Furness









East Sussex


Many thanks also to participants in the SSD research workshops to date:




Central Bedfordshire Council

Cheshire East

City of York




East Riding of Yorkshire


Greater Manchester Combined Authority

















Waltham Forest

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

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