Data & Insight Authority Forum 2017

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The Data and Insight Authority Forum has been set up by West Sussex County Council with funding from LGA, to become the biggest virtual team of data, insight, research and performance experts across local government and the public sector. It’s a very exciting opportunity to share knowledge and expertise; and work together to solve problems – regardless of geographic boundaries.

Earlier this week, we attended the Data and Insight Authority Forum Summit 2017. It was a great day, packed full of quick-fire presentations from data heroes working across local government and the public sector. Here are a few of our takeaways from the day.

The power of collaboration

One of the speakers during the day said “the problems we are facing are not just local government problems – they are affecting everybody.”

Lynn Wyeth’s (Leicester City Council) talk on information sharing between the emergency services in order to identify hotspots for emergency calls and run a prevention project highlighted the power of collaboration across services; both in terms of sharing data and also running joint projects. Particularly enjoyed the anecdote on residents responding much more positively to a firefighter on their doorstep rather than a police officer!

Si Chum Lam’s (Coventry City Council) presentation on their approach to improving outcomes for those with multiple complex needs through joining up local services and posing the question – is the problem with the complex needs, or with our complex services?

The power of storytelling

It was great to see such a focus on communicating data and telling stories with numbers in order to boost the visibility of your work, get it in front of decision-makers and influence change.

Caroline Florence from Insight Narrator gave some great tips – the one that’s stuck with us: “start with a personal story – not with a caveat in your data’s methodology!”

Summit organiser, Ellen Gayler (West Sussex County Council) showed us how they have been putting storytelling into action; and how they make their data exciting for their audiences using story mapping. Really loved seeing their “before” and “after” performance dashboards. 

The power of stepping outside your comfort zone

Something we all need reminding of every now and again. During Anuschka Muller’s (NHS Sussex Community Foundation Trust) talk, there was a call to action for the researchers and analysts of local government. Be bold. 

Both Anuschka and Lucy Knight (Devon County Council) spoke of the wealth of skills already in local government teams and the potential to go beyond being analysts, to consultants, leaders and changemakers. And with a network of expert practitioners all coming together through the DIAF – we are excited to see what can be achieved.

Join the network

The wealth of knowledge and expertise in the room at the summit was extraordinary – and we wish the DIAF every success in building this virtual team, with the power to solve problems together through knowledge sharing & skills swaps.

To find out more and join the Data and Insight Authority Forum network, visit

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