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Troubled Families Brief - March 2017

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On Tuesday 28th March, Portal hosted the first in a series of roadshows aimed at Troubled Families Coordinators and Data Analysts within UK Local Authorities. The venue for our initial roadshow was IBM's Client Centre in South Bank. The London Head Office was the perfect location as many of the delegates were from London and the home counties.  

IBM were kind enough to offer one of their conference rooms within their Partner Centre. This area within South Bank is for clients, Business Partners and IBM'ers to meet, share knowledge, gain additional expertise and encourage innovation. Since its launch in 2016, the client centre has seen over 15,000 clients walk through the door for meetings, events and conferences. Platinum Business Partners such as Portal have use of these facilities throughout the year to host education events.

With the delegates starting to filter in and mingle amongst each other over breakfast and coffee, it was time to load the presentations. The focus of this event was the data challenges faced within Adults & Children Services, with a large emphasis of the 10am-2pm event concentrating on the Government's Troubled Families programme - In particular we were keen to stimulate a debate about how local authorities can work smarter not harder with all the upcoming change and transformation projects planned within the sector. 

When designing the roadshow, Portal wanted to create an independent event where public sector professionals could come together to discuss issues and share their success. For this event Portal were delighted to have guest speakers Lucinda Hibberd, Troubled Families Coordinator from The Royal Borough of Greenwich, Paul Holme, Intelligence Manager at Manchester City Council and Tony Ellis, Ex-CIO of Brent Council and now Information management specialist at IBM.

The event covered the broader challenges around data and the importance of understanding it especially when looking at public data. I cannot do each speaker justice by summarising their presentations in a few lines, however, the key points raised were: 

  • The pitfalls with using master spreadsheets
  • The need to have a single view of an individual and a family
  • The need to know how individuals who aren’t related are connected
  • The need to do more with less, as budget cuts threaten the amount local authorities can output
  • To understand that Adults & Children Services need one data set to enable a more efficient way of working
  • Analytics can help the Public sector to understand how to better manage services
  • Case management approaches did not provide the view required to fully understand a family
  • The need for more efficient collaboration between the Private & Public sector in solving complex issues
  • The need for a forum and regular meetings with Portal & IBM to create a joined up strategy and voice

The event came to a close with an informal network session where delegate could discuss the points raised within the presentations and leave inspired and with a sense of optimism. From my perspective I saw it as a huge success, both Portal & IBM will be looking forward to hosting the next event planned in Manchester - the themes are yet to be defined but it is likely to focus on the more technical side to challenges within the sector. 

I feel it is the responsibility of technology vendors to lead on developing working models and approaches which can be implemented by Local Authorities.

If you would like to attend the next roadshow or even to present at the next session, please feel free to get in touch via the contact us button below.