Rochdale Borough Council

Connected Data in Rochdale

Briefly describe the initiative/ project/ service

We’ve built a Connected Data warehouse which links person and place records from the major information systems across the Council, and maps their key data items to a Common Data Layer founded on the Smart City Concept Model.

By applying data standards to our wide range of data sources, we’ve been able to develop new data tools and learn new things about the people and places we support. Our 360 View tool shows connections between data items regardless of where the data was originally recorded, and allows front line workers (with the consent of the people they support) to understand the range of services already interacting with someone in a way which would previously have required direct contact with countless professionals across different agencies.

Behind the scenes, researchers can use that connected data to better understand our borough and drive better service strategy, and our warehouse design enables us to govern access and lock or unlock new data items with minimal effort, meaning that once data is mapped into the Common Data Layer it is as simple to report on events occurring across half a dozen systems as it is to report against one system, and we can remain transparent about who has access to what – and why.

Why do you think it should win this award?

We’re using the data standards developed in the Smart City Concept Model to dramatically reduce the cost and complexity of managing our huge range of valuable but underexploited data, and to dramatically enhance the value we get from that data.

We’ve built our solution from the ground up instead of procuring an off-the-shelf solution, and it’s been designed by the people who will work with it.

And while we’ve built it with specific initial purposes in mind, we’ve stayed true to the philosophy of data standards and built tools which can later be applied to any of the data we manage, without further development cost. While today we’re focused on supporting families, tomorrow we might be using the same tools to compare walk-in traffic at libraries with weather reports, or pothole incidents with planning applications, or IT helpdesk calls with building locations and flood warnings. Getting the data standards right, and building our tools in line with that philosophy, means we can cut not only the cost of service delivery but the cost of the technology itself, reusing our data and our data tools instead of building something new for each new purpose.

What are the key achievements?

We designed, built and implemented a bespoke Connected Data warehouse, founded on the two key concepts of Master Data Management and Common Data Standards.

We pulled together data from children’s social care, education, adult care, police and other sources to provide wide-ranging overviews of the needs of families, and enable data analysis across datasets.

We designed and developed new Connected Data visualisation tools including 360 View (pictured), which shows connections between data items from a diverse range of sources.

We designed and implemented a comprehensive Security and Sharing model for opening up data to users, keeping things secure where necessary, and we’re introducing a new goal of openness within the organisation about what data we hold (and why).

We’ve supported the local implementation of the national Troubled Families programme, replacing a time-consuming and on-going data matching task with automated person-matching and easily repeatable outputs.

And we’ve won recognition from AGMA’s GM-Connect programme – among others – as an example of data sharing done well.