Suffolk County Council

Outcome of Expression of Interest: Invited to apply

Councils want to make best use of data to support strategic decisions for its citizens.  We are asking for £30,000 for an alpha project to develop a proof of concept interactive model/simulation of Children-in-Care numbers that can be adjusted to simulate variation under different changes to the system, a so-called ‘what if scenario modeller’.    Impacts could be budget, case mix, population outputs, timings under different scenarios.

 We will work with our partners and apply data science and data engineering philosophies to create pilot interactive data models where things can be switched on, enhanced, reduced etc to produce some insight based upon the if scenarios.  The project will need to look into pseudonymous data, a creation of an overall data map (datasets and linkage) to be modelled, data quality and reporting/dashboarding, and machine learning techniques for presentation.

 We plan to build the model in stages and gain feedback through the working collaboration group to ensure that this can provide benefit and insight for business.  Our intention is for it to be used as a pilot and then if successful look to scale out to production sustainable solution.

 The code is planned to be open-source and hopefully sharable. 

Discovery evidence

Numbers of Children In Care (CiC) are increasing, and there is concern over limited insights into what the dynamics are behind changes in CiC numbers, what those numbers will be in future, or what the net impacts of any interventions or policy changes are likely to be.

 Initial analysis of trends and the makeup of the overall population has not helped greatly with gaining greater insights, so decision-makers would like greater understanding of the drivers of net CiC numbers and how these numbers, case mix, and budgets might change in future, based on simulation/longitudinal approaches rather than overall trends.

 We therefore need a system that can lead to us being able to use things like predictive modelling to manage demand and assess the impact of interventions are points within the system.   A system needs to be able to show ‘what if’ around demand, number of children, care packages available, placements, timing of interventions etc. 

  • Digital leadership training (for council leaders, service managers or senior executives)
  • Digital and agile awareness
  • Introduction to digital business analysis