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9 June 2014

Making a Difference with Data 2014

Capita is sponsoring the launch event for Making a Difference with Data, a programme designed to raise awareness of the benefits of open data and data-driven decision-making for local public services, as well as social and economic growth and well being.

There is an increased recognition within local government and the wider public sector of the importance of analytics and the use of data. It can be applied in a variety of ways to benefit individuals, neighbourhoods and communities. For example, data can be used to identify and focus resources on customers and areas with the greatest need; or can be made accessible to other parties, eg, local businesses, to improve both customer service and the local economy.

The Making a Difference with Data programme, designed with leaders of local public services, industry and enterprise in mind, is being developed and run by Birmingham-based Boilerhouse Media in collaboration with England’s core cities. The launch event, which takes place in Birmingham on 26 June, is also supported by Digital Birmingham. There will also be a series of UK-wide events and an online platform for sharing ideas and projects for data release and use.

Birmingham’s launch event has attracted an impressive speaker line-up of experts in data release and reuse, as well as local leaders of key public services including health, social care, housing, and economic development. Speakers include:

  • Emer Coleman, data entrepreneur and former deputy director of the Government Digital Service
  • Sam German, programme director, Healthy Villages, Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust
  • Jas Bains MBE, chief executive of Ashram Housing Association
  • Neil Crockett, CEO, Connected Digital Economy Catapult
  • Shane O’Neill, chairman, roadworks.org
  • David Frost CBE – first chairman, LEP Network
  • Chris Naylor, chief operating officer, Barnet Council.

The event will also feature presentations from core cities Birmingham, Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester.

Andy Parker, Capita plc chief executive, said:  “This decade has been phenomenally tough for the public sector, but the pressure to find further cost savings is likely to remain for the foreseeable future. Balancing budgets while maintaining service delivery may feel like an impossible task, but having better, data-driven insight into customers will play a greater role in shaping further service transformation. It allows the public sector to more effectively target its services, enhance the customer experience and nip trouble spots in the bud before they escalate. It also allows public sector organisations to link people to specialist groups that already exist within the local community that can provide another layer of support.”

The amount of data generated every day is huge – and is becoming more and more available, along with affordable computer power to exploit it. It’s no longer the preserve of statisticians locked away in a back room, but increasingly accessible to everyone, from chief executives down to local residents. And, as consumers, we are increasingly aware of how that data can be put to use in our everyday lives. I have an app that tells me when to walk out the door, based on when the bus is coming, so why can’t I have one that alerts me 10 minutes before the bin men get here, or tells me whether the books in my Amazon wish list are in the local library, or helps me find accredited and well reviewed carers for my children after school?

Neil Mackin

analytics director, Capita

Boilerhouse director Vicky Sargent said:

"We are very pleased that Capita has come in as supporters of Making a Difference with Data, endorsing our vision of the importance of data for place, and the need for local decision-makers to come together to use the increasing volumes of data available to them to create strong and sustainable communities."

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