Devon County Council

Based in the city of Exeter, Devon County Council covers the administration of the English non-metropolitan county of Devon, Britain’s third largest county. As the largest local authority in South-West England, with a population of approximately 810,716 – increasing dramatically in the holiday months due to tourism (with over 4 million visitors a year). Devon County Council's responsibilities include schools, social care for the elderly and vulnerable. It is the largest employer in Devon, employing over 20,000 people with an annual budget of approximately £1.3 billion.  

The Problem

Due to their population size, Devon has far high data volumes than many other local authorities across the country.

Even in the early Phase 1 days of the national Troubled Families Programme, Devon needed to process high volumes of data to identify and work with eligible families across their educational, crime, antisocial behaviour and employment services, as well as their many district level partner agencies.

In the second phase of the national programme, they needed to manage 30 qualifying criteria and move from a working target of 1,370 families to over 4,500, which exponentially increased the volume of data to be processed and analysed.  

Devon required the ability to integrate data from a wide range of internal and external sources to form comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date holistic views of individuals and the families they belong to. They needed a data driven method of identifying and profiling families who were eligible for support as part of the then national Troubled Families Programme (now Supporting Families Programme). 

The Supporting Families Programme is administered by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (or DLUHC, formerly the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government).

Click here to view the latest updates from DLUHC about the Supporting Families Programme.

Information needed to be collected from each of the many data sources, matched together to form a complete view of every family member, and then rolled up into family compositions. These family compositions then need to be profiled to assess their levels of need and confirm if these needs match the requirements defined by the national programme. For those families that do qualify for the programme, continual monitoring of their needs and progress is required to measure outcomes.

The local authority also needed a way of evidencing the turn-around of families they identify and support. They needed the ability to track their journey and show the progress they make. This evidencing needed to incorporate information from all supporting services and partners, such as social care, schools, NHS and Police records. Without this evidencing the local authority could not receive their funding by proving their progress for Payment by Results (PBR) claims. 

How we solved the problem

Sentinel’s industry leading Data Integration Platform has the flexibility and capability to integrate, transform and profile extremely large volumes of complex data consistently and compliantly from any data source. Onto this, we have developed our Supporting Families Portal, which has been specifically designed to meet the needs of the supporting Families Programme.

Sentinel Partner’s resulting Supporting Families solution:

  • Allows data to be integrated from any council systems, and any partner agencies such as the Police, NHS and central government departments such as the DWP
  • Any number of data sources can be merged together
  • Data is matched to produce a complete picture of each family member
  • Each family member is then matched into the family they belong to
  • Our in-built data profiling functionality provides a fully flexible and automated method of measuring each families’ circumstances against eligibility criteria for the programme
  • Eligible families are highlighted to the team as soon as they cross the threshold. The profiling criteria and thresholds are fully configurable, allowing the council teams to adapt to the requirements of each phase of the programme
  • The council team can choose which families to attach and work with, and a Supporting Families Case is created automatically by the system for each attached family
  • The solution continues to track incidents, events and outcomes for all families, along with monitoring the support services provided
  • The solution builds up a longitudinal view of family progress and highlights those families who are eligible for Payment by Result (PBR) claims
  • All output for the DLUHC National Team is supported by the system, including PBR Claims and audit reports, plus any national submissions such as the FPD Report

The Supporting Family solution offers fully configurable eligibility rules, enabling St Helens to define profiling rules for eligibility according to the requirements of the Supporting Families programme and their own local TFOP (Trouble Families Outcomes Plan) which incorporates the council's own priorities in responding to their family's needs at the local level. 

The platform also tracks the cohort’s continuing progress and show where interventions and support services have been successful and where they have not. This allows them to focus resources on the more effective services.

The benefits of using our data platform

Using Sentinel’s Supporting Families Solution Devon County Council were able to more effectively identify families with multiple, complex needs and dependencies.

The built-in audit reporting provides detailed evidence required for PBR claims and other government reporting requirements. Key tasks were automated, increasing accuracy & efficiency while reducing costs.  

The quality of data available across the authority and its partner agencies has been enhanced and is far more visible. 

Sentinel is now providing further software and data service solutions to Devon County Council, assisting their work beyond the Supporting Families Programme. This has included the provision of a Microsoft Azure Power BI data warehouse, providing a comprehensive 360 view of residents and associated data points. 

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    and completeness
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