Government project seeks to improve local authority homelessness data

Written by Sam Trendall on 5 September 2019 in News

Central government-backed scheme to explore the quality of existing data and how it is collected

Credit: Tanja Mason/Pixabay

Central government is to run pilot schemes with local councils that it hopes will help improve the quality and utility of data on homelessness. 

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has set aside up to £90,000 to work with a specialist supplier on a discovery phase dedicated to improving “local [and] national government’s shared understanding of what constitutes good homelessness services and outcomes”. The project will also look to identify “inconsistencies” in how data is currently collected and used, as well as what additional skills or resources are needed to improve homelessness services.

MHCLG has identified three “hypotheses” it wishes to test, the first of which is that those who commission homelessness services “need central government to define what good looks like”.

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The second theory to be tested is that policymakers and local commissioners require “consistent or interoperating data sets and systems”. The third hypothesis is that those delivering services “need data to be consistent from one local authority to another”.

MHCLG said: “These pilots will involve working with a number of local authorities and their delivery partners to understand what data is currently collected, and how robust it is. They will develop data standards supporting consistent approaches to local data collection, and subsequently develop [and] test a multi-agency outcomes framework, looking across different services.”

Suppliers wishing to bid for the project have until midnight on 12 September to do so. The chosen firm will be awarded a 12-week contract with a scheduled start date of 21 October.

“This will be a crucial step in helping us understand the most useful indicators nationally,” the department added. “It will help us understand how and if we might present a variety of data sets in a way that maximises the usefulness of this data. To improve the current data practices we need to deliver these pilots in partnership with people working in services that collect and use data. We know that the using [of] homelessness data services is hugely varied, and so anything we design [or] build must be primarily informed by the experience of local areas.”


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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology


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