At iStandUK we have been working at pace on the SAVVI project since our last blog post. We came up with a new name for our project: Scalable Approach to Vulnerability Via Interoperability (SAVVI). Our name for the MHCLG C19 Challenge Fund project to propose data standards to improve how local councils can find vulnerable people and households is, we think, pretty savvy.

Since we launched at the end of August, we have appointed data experts from Bodvoc Ltd to support us. They are currently getting up to speed with the project and have been supporting our discovery work to understand the nature of the (data) problems that local authorities face when trying to identify the vulnerable within the communities we serve. Hugh Boyes, Director of Bodvoc Ltd said that “this is an excellent project to apply our data modelling and information management skills to assist councils to identify and support vulnerable residents”. The Bodvoc team includes experts from Data Performance Consultancy Ltd and STFC Hartree.

The discovery phase of the project is well underway; we are undertaking a series of workshops to understand the data requirements of councils in their work to identify vulnerable individuals and households. Our first workshop explored the data requirements from our partnered project led by Huntingdon District Council in their current work to establish a vulnerability scoring index and journey mapping. As part of that workshop, we also explored the data held by Government agencies and how we might access data that councils would need to support in identifying vulnerability.

Workshop two explored the data challenges faced by councils when they sought to identify vulnerable people in the context of the current C19 pandemic. We heard from colleagues at Bolton, North Yorkshire County, Huntingdonshire District and Somerset County councils about their experiences of using data to identify vulnerable individuals and households in the first wave of the pandemic. We learned about the difficulties they faced: from acquiring data, blending data, making sense of it, and using it to make service decisions. From this, we will begin to make sense of the common data requirements all councils shared to understand how data standards might help.

The SAVVI project, as funded by the MHCLG C19 Challenge, is primarily about responding to the current pandemic. At iStandUK, we would like our output to be scalable; in other words we are concerned about creating vulnerability standards that could apply to more types of vulnerability than just in the context of Covid-19. This is why workshop three will take our learning from workshop two (on C19 data requirements), and seek to understand the data requirements for identifying vulnerable people and households in the context of homelessness. For this workshop, we are engaging with partners from Crisis, MHCLG Homelessness team, and councils such as Bristol City, Huntingdonshire District, and GMCA.