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Developing a crisis response model to support Neighbourhood Team delivery

In this guest blog, Paul Holme, Strategic Lead (Intelligence and Data Science) at Manchester City Council shares a progress update from the ‘Developing a crisis response model to support Neighbourhood Team delivery’ project.

You can find out more about the #LocalDigitalC19Challenge and the other projects we have funded by visiting the Local Digital website.

What’s the Neighbourhood Team project all about?

We’re now 6 weeks into our C-19 Challenge project and I wanted to share some details about the work we’ve been doing during the first half of our C-19 Challenge project here at Manchester City Council.

A key part of our neighbourhood delivery is carried out by our multi-agency ‘Team Around a Neighbourhood (TAN)’ functions. There are 13 TANs in total, and they bring agencies together around a common set of priorities and respond directly to the differing situations of each neighbourhood.

Covid-19 put this all into sharp focus for us and we had to rapidly innovate, designing new solutions and processes to ensure support could be provided to our most vulnerable households. While we have developed things that work for us at this point in time, the pandemic has also revealed what we should be taking forward into our ‘new normal’.

We applied for C-19 Challenge funding as a way of ensuring we had the capacity and commitment to embed our work through Covid-19 into practice. The funding will enable us to move much faster and bring in the specialist support and advice we need from both key stakeholders and technical support for our data owners.

What we’ve discovered so far

Over the last 6 weeks we’ve spent a lot of time engaging with stakeholders about their specific requirements, which we are starting to map to our data pathways.

Our neighbourhoods are telling us they need intelligence to help them to:

  • understand scale/volume of support needs in their area;
  • manage/reduce demand safely;
  • deliver a more targeted/household approach for service delivery

This has meant bringing together, analysing and sharing information about those households that had registered for support nationally or locally, alongside data about services operating around those households, such as social work, food response, benefit support and tenancy support. This has provided us with intelligence about which pathway of support would be suited to each type of household.

Image 1: Illustration of how an individual’s needs can be met by multiple support providers, however what is important to our TANs is to join that support up into a coordinated neighbourhood response.

We ran a pilot at the start of the project to test what a technical solution might look like. This quickly showed that, by turning individual bits of information into intelligence, our TANs were provided with a much more manageable challenge.

The pilot showed that the total challenge in one part of the city could be 1,000 potentially vulnerable households, but through bringing the information together with multi-agency knowledge, that challenge was reduced to less than 100 households. This is because the information showed us that most households were already accessing an existing support pathway.

Image 2: Illustration of how universal services operate at scale to support vulnerable residents and once you start to identify who is already supported where, you can ultimately focus on a much more tightly defined targeted group or response.

This is a much more manageable task for a TAN and an immediate reflection of how agencies working together shares the task at hand.

The pilot also enabled us to look more widely across the city and subsequently to support future response planning. This directly links to two of the things that stakeholders told us they needed help with: understanding scale and targeted support.

What will be the output?

We’re tackling this project in three stages:

Stage 1 — Engagement with our TANs and production of a ‘Requirements Specification’. This will provide details of what data and intelligence is needed in a typical neighbourhood team and will be available for anyone else to pick up and use.

Stage 2 — Review of data pathways and production of ‘Data Lifecycle’ documents that map out the data sources, processes and agreements to the requirements set out in stage 1. This will provide a schema that is broad enough to be applied to any area of the system.

Stage 3 — Development of a proof of concept solution, taking what we learnt from our pilot work alongside the outputs from stages 1 & 2, to produce a solution that demonstrates how this could be applied.

The output will not be a finalised product or tool, but more a specification for how anyone can take the learning from Manchester and apply it flexibly to their own locality.

How you can get involved

We’ll be developing in the open and encourage other areas to help us test and shape our thinking. Anyone that wants to see what we are up to or help shape our ideas is welcome. Feel free to contact me directly at paul.holme@manchester.gov.uk or via Twitter @holme_paul.

We’re already working with our established networks, which means working with Greater Manchester Combined Authority, nine other Greater Manchester Authorities, Core Cities through the National Analysts Group and through existing Smart Cities Networks. Plus we’ll be visible through the Local Digital Fund channels and networks.

Join us for our next Show and Tell on 16th October, 2–3pm to find out more!

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The Local Digital team is part of the UK Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities. Read more about our work: https://www.localdigital.gov.uk.