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One of the most significant issues facing children and families in Plymouth is food poverty.
Currently, there are more than 11,000 infants and young people living in poverty across the city.
As the cost-of-living crisis grips communities, that number will soar.
But how can you help them if you can’t find them?
This was a huge problem for Plymouth City Council and its partners. The challenges they
faced in the wake of the pandemic and beyond were stark:
Yet despite the mounting issues, the council and its partners have been able to transform the outcomes being achieved thanks to innovative technology - including identifying more than 1,000 additional children and families that required support, who could otherwise have slipped through the net.
A clear Single View solution
Plymouth City Council has been using Single View and Capita’s One Education management software for several years.
The intuitive Single View software, powered by Fibonacci, brings together databases including early years, school admissions, attendance, exclusions, social care, youth justice, housing, revenues and benefits and health, as well as data from many other sources, to build a comprehensive, integrated dataset that shows a family’s situation from every perspective.
But the issue of food poverty is a complex one across the city, involving many different organisations, all with their own individual sets of data.
It was an issue highlighted by the independent lobby group ‘The Plymouth Fairness Commission’ which described it as a ‘tale of two cities’ for the predicted life outcomes of children, based entirely on which council ward they happened to be born in.
The commission stated that ‘issues don’t exist in isolation to each other but that there is “a need to ensure better coordinated responses across many teams - siloed data needs to be utilised far more effectively”.
The situation was so severe in the wake of the pandemic, it was clear that a radically different approach was needed – and Single View provided the solution.
Addressing social inequalities
The results speak for themselves.
Single View has:
- supported a huge increase in the number of partners, including supermarkets, food banks and schools, who are now jointly working together as part of the Plymouth Food Insecurity Programme, broadening its reach into communities.
- allowed the team to reach more than 1,000 additional children and families that may not have been easily identified through individual partners’ siloed data sets.
- identified individuals and families who are in rent arrears, possibly at risk of eviction or in poor quality rental accommodation, thanks to the integration of housing data.
- fast-tracked solutions, enabling earlier interventions in the vulnerable wards, especially those who previously had fewer food establishments and community food partnerships in place.
- supported Plymouth’s performance indicators for data innovation and transformation.
Speaking about their experience, Dr Gareth Sampson, Project Officer at Plymouth City Council, said:
“The biggest learning point for this project was that the technology enabler (Single View) is quicker and easier to use than anyone in the council expected. It is agile, and easily adaptable to provide solutions for other teams and programmes.”
Plymouth’s senior leaders also reported a complete transformation in the way they can read data, enabling data literacy to visually understand what is happening across their city. Plymouth has further expanded Single View to support the Holiday Activity Funds, and the cost-of-living crisis has already been identified as their next transformation programme. Other future potential programmes could include Supporting Families, The First 1001 Days and the Levelling Up agendas.
Making Single View work for you
Capita’s Single View works by combining multiple data sources to flag vulnerable people and unfolding situations that would otherwise remain hidden – and, importantly, before the situations escalate.
Single View can be deployed in as little as four weeks, providing real-time data integration with internal and external partners across a range of different services.
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