Each council manages their own directory of community services, which is used to signpost residents to the organisations and public agencies that provide the local support they are looking for.
But different organisations hold and share their information in different ways. This means that directories can lack consistency and become laborious to maintain. When not effectively maintained, residents find it difficult to access the right information about the services available to them.
Four councils have been working together to define the Open Referral UK data standard. Organising community service data in a common way makes it easier to build directories, design new features, aggregate key data and ultimately to reduce duplication.
The standard is now on its way towards adoption by councils throughout the UK. It is already being used in Buckinghamshire Family Information Service, and a series of loneliness pilot projects led by the LGA, for example.
The purpose of the beta phase is:
- To grow the community of users of the standard and to provide them with practical support for its adoption.
- To deliver three demonstrator projects that will support the evidence-base underpinning the standard and informing its continued development.
- To identify and work with potential major consumers of community services data, such as the NHS and DWP, and to support uptake of the standard in service directory products offered by the private sector.