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May 19, 2011 / Jo Ivens

How does data contribute to decision-making?

As we get underway with the ‘fieldwork’ of DataBridge, I’ve been thinking about how information is used to support decision making locally.

Ultimately, I think the value of DataBridge to the local partnership in Brighton & Hove will be in supporting the sector to be able to provide robust data on commissioning priorities.  This means being able to contribute to both the scoping of what services are to be commissioned and the commissioning decisions themselves.

For example, how can we use data to illustrate the link between advice services, mental health and financial inclusion?  If we know that financial distress leads to not only people struggling with their tenancies but suffering from mental ill health as well, how can we quantify the interventions and beneficial impact of advice services?

I know we’re getting into the realms of measuring impact rather than need here, but the example serves to illustrate how the issue cuts across not just departments of the local authority, but across health services too.

Brighton & Hove JSNA

I have been reading the Brighton Joint Strategic Needs Analysis, it’s not a document to be digested all in one go, so I may have missed the crucial detail here, but I wonder how voluntary sector data was fed into the detailed analysis?  It’s good to see a position statement from the CVS Forum included (p.48) and that this was gathered from a number of events over a lengthy time period, but it would make sense for voluntary sector providers of public services to feed in what they know from their data collection and evidence gathering to the way the city assesses and makes decisions about addressing need.  Maybe this already happens, more sleuthing required!

I am spending some time when I can getting to know BHLIS too, with a view to continuing the useful discussions that have started with officers on how voluntary sector data can be channelled in as a matter of course.


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