Demand Modelling Tool for Children’s Services


  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.