Bringing local agencies together to reduce harm and vulnerability in communities

Blog: Bringing local agencies to work together for shared outcomes


Laurence Marzell, Innovation Lead 1st February 2019


Responding to the breadth of Harm & Vulnerability present in any community is beyond the capacity and capabilities of any one body and requires a single whole-system approach. A Whole System Approach aligns all of the various stakeholders and partners who are involved in confronting the Harm & Vulnerability citizens and communities face, facilitating and enabling their working together based on a single picture of the demand on the system. Too often, capabilities can be developed in silos (for example against specific threats or separately in different agencies) risking duplication and inefficiency in what is a shared desire to achieve citizen-centred outcomes.

In support of the Police, Fire & Crime Commissioner (PFCC) for North Yorkshire we held a  round table discussion, together with the Office for Data Analytics, run from Avon & Somerset Constabulary and Fire & Rescue, on the 14th January at the Cabinet Office Emergency Planning College, Easingwold North Yorkshire. 

We used a scenario based approach to discuss and work through examples of how Big Data, together with a Whole Systems Approach, can be used to reduce the wide spectrum of harm & vulnerability across the communities of North Yorkshire; the aims and objectives of the roundtable were to illustrate how all responsible stakeholders might plan and deliver more joined-up, citizen and outcome focussed services in support of the needs and priorities of their communities.

Roundtable delegates included senior members from the PFCC’s office including from the North Yorkshire police and fire services; from the County Council, academia and from the numerous partner agencies working across the spectrum of safety, safeguarding, health, resilience and emergency planning. Delegates also attended from the Home Office and from Serco’s custodial and justice team. 

Our key insights from the day…

We focused on the context and challenges of partnership working and the need for public services to become as interoperable as data is itself to ensure partners are able to deliver interventions from the insight collected. As a collective we brainstormed the root causes to selected harm and vulnerability scenarios in order to understand the aims and goals of different organisations, the data they create, the data they consume and the data they would like to have to act effectively. 

Our key insights included:

  • Partnership activities in the context of reducing harm and vulnerability need to be focused on a mission-led goal such as keeping people safe in their communities, rather than focussing on working to KPIs and policing. This could be overcome by more proactive activities that look to develop welfare and wellbeing, across avenues such as leisure and education;
  • Tapping into community data provides an opportunity to prevent harm and vulnerability – however, the diverse processes, governance and culture of organisations can hinder the potential to act because it is not clear where the boundaries of responsibility lie;
  • Public services are not joined up in how they are measured or how they tackle problems, leading to missed opportunities due to a lack of a holistic strategy, shared outcomes, or collective views on risk. 

What does this mean for public service delivery?

Building upon the roundtable, the collected outputs will support a pilot study in North Yorkshire on how data and analytics, can facilitate efficiently and effectively the reduction of harm & vulnerability for all responsible stakeholders across the county in a citizen and outcome focussed way. This improved understanding of stakeholder dynamics within a complex system – who owns the risk, who has the responsibility, who has the capability and capacity, will improve shared understanding to differing stakeholder priorities, so that better informed decision making through the application of analytics and data, can achieve its full effect. 

Ultimately, the outcomes and findings can create a wider Business and Transformation plan, identifying areas for improvement based upon the collective learning and the different aspects needed to put those improvements into operational practice; understanding the changes and that need to be made not just to any technology involved but critically to processes, training, governance and information too. These transformation improvements can drive the requirements, procurements and delivery of services that enable the outcome focussed delivery of joined-up citizen services.  

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