Children’s Social Care Demand

Contents:

  1. Project outputs
  2. Project timeline

This C-19 Challenge project has developed a model to anticipate the forthcoming wave of demand to help vulnerable children and families emerge from the constraints of lockdown.

Previously led by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, the project is now led by East Sussex County Council and Data to Insight.

As lockdown was implemented, local authority children’s services urgently needed to begin modelling different scenarios, so that they would be able to plan for resourcing and protect their budgets.

The project team spotted an opportunity to bring together all of the work being done independently by local authorities and build a shared tool, which would be available to all, thereby supporting those who did not have capacity to build a tool themselves.

Watch a recording of Data to Insight’s session at Digital Leaders Week 2021:

Project outputs

A model to anticipate the forthcoming wave of demand to help vulnerable children and families emerge out of the constraints of lockdown:

Project timeline

August 2020

The Demand Modelling Tool project receives £80,000 from the Local Digital C-19 Challenge.

February 2021

The project receives £120,000 of follow-on funding from the Local Digital Fund to continue their work. During the next phase, the project will be led by the Data to Insight team at East Sussex and will look to:

  • improve the tool utilising data from the previous lockdowns
  • extend and develop a further version with additional features, and will be researching this with the community and prioritising feature requests
  • build a community development model, enabling them to work with the community to create smaller communities of interest to build out additional tools

May 2021

The team kicked off the most recent phase of the project, to deliver a tool that enables segmentation of historic and up-to-date information about Looked After Children.

June 2021

The Data to Insight team delivered a session during Digital Leaders Week 2021.

The team completed Data Protection Impact Assessments with their local government partners. This meant that they were able to begin work on development of the demand modelling tool for Looked After Children (LACs).

September 2021

The team successfully completed the Excel models which are based on Python. These were passed to local government data analysts for feedback.

The new version of the tool is on schedule to be released for the wider community at the beginning of October, and the team will run some webinars demonstrating the tool so that they can get feedback.

October 2021

The team launched a new version of their Demand Modelling Tool for Children who are Looked After (CLA) Placements.

Following the rollout of the current version of the CLA Placement Modelling Tool (a demand modelling tool for children who are looked after), the team have been busy engaging with their users. They have:

  • gathered feedback on the tool
  • supported users and answered any questions about the tool
  • rectified any issues that were raised through feedback

Feedback on the tool was constructive and positive.

November 2021

East Sussex County Council receives an additional £24,000 of Continuous Funding. The funding will enable the project to add new functionality to their tool to help LAs share aggregate data (no sensitive or personal data) with other LAs. This will mean that trends/patterns can be identified by region, localised cluster, or with other LAs with similar historical children services demand profiles.

More than 140 people from local authorities (around 50–90 councils) have downloaded the placement modelling tool since it launched in October.

The Data to Insight team held demos with users to demonstrate the tool to analysts and commissioners in local authorities and gain feedback. Get in touch with the team if you think this tool can help you.

East Sussex County Council and Data to Insight featured in November’s LDCU Council Spotlight.

December 2021

The team is hoping to release a new version of the tool based on amendments made following user feedback.

March 2022

The project is awarded £340,550 in follow-on funding through the Continuous Funding Model.

The project will use the funding to support the testing of their modelling scenario and explore the best approach to roll out the service across local authorities and regional groups.

First, they will build a web based version of the existing tool that is free for single local authorities, in order to:

  • make it easier to use (solving users’ main problem with the prototype)
  • allow them to track where and how it is used so that they can improve the user experience 
  • create a platform that makes it cheaper and faster to roll out updates

Then, they will develop a variant which can be used for regional partnerships who wish to pool data for a regional view – this is the intended paying customer group.

At the same time, they will work on making this financially viable without further grants.

April-May 2022

The team is continuing to explore connections and commonalities between Local Digital Fund projects and not-for-profit and VCS organisations, with a view to efficiently scaling up the service.

They are continuing to engage with regional commissioning networks and other local authority colleagues around the co-design of the regional demand modelling approach.

Recently they have also:

  • conducted research and conversations with a wide range of peers about options for the long term viability of the service
  • commenced development of the web-based “single LA” demand modelling tool
  • successfully integrated the forecasting model into the web-based environment
  • designed and started development work on the web-based user interface

They are also in the process of setting up a regular cycle of project and team meetings to keep their work visible to the relevant partners.