Reading seeks data analytics tool to assess impact of welfare reform on low-income households

Written by Sam Trendall on 4 September 2018 in News

Council interested in deploying product that could help understand economic effect on neighbourhoods, streets, and individual households

The Oracle centre, pictured here at night, is close to Reading town centre

Reading Borough Council is looking to deploy data analytics to help “drive strategic and operational decisions in the provision of a range of welfare services”.

The authority is seeking to make use of a web-based analytics platform that allows staff to examine data held by the council to try and better understand how welfare reforms are impacting individual households in the Berkshire town. Reading is looking for a tool that will allow it to “track the changing circumstances of low-income households to check the effectiveness of interventions, policy changes and socio-economic factors”.

The council also wants to find patterns in household income, and “identify struggling, just-managing, and in-crisis households, based on analysis combining households’ incomes, expenditure and arrears”. The council also hopes to ascertain which how many and which local households are below the poverty line “relative to national and absolute” measures.

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The council’s ultimate goal is to be able to “bring together disparate datasets to have a single view of low-income households”.

Reading has issued an early-engagement notice seeking suppliers that could potentially provide technology capable of using “data already being extracted by officers from council systems without the need for SQL reports, add-on modules or extra software”. 

The supplier must also be able to supply a platform that can “interrogate the data to show households in Reading which have been impacted by recent welfare reform as well as any future welfare reforms and the cumulative effect for individuals”.

Ultimately, the tool should be able to “provide results that are easy to understand, shown in a variety of formats and be able to be interrogated down to ward, street, and individual household level”. 

Before launching a procurement exercise, the council wishes to undertake a consultation with potential suppliers and market experts. If the authority decides to go ahead and issue an invitation to tender, it will to look award a contract for an initial term of 12 months “with the potential for a further extension subject to operational need and value-for-money considerations”.

Suppliers who believe they would be interested in responding to such a tender are advised to inform the council and provide details of their credentials and the potential costs involved. Interested parties wishing to take part in the consultation can visit Reading’s e-tendering portal.

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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