£7.9m data sharing project to support vulnerable children and families

The £7.9m data accelerator fund will support 10 new data sharing projects across England, which will involve several local NHS trusts working more closely with 10 councils, police forces, and schools. It hopes to encourage a more joined up approach when sharing data to ensure children and families receive the right help at the right time.

Earlier and better support will be provided from local services to vulnerable children and families across England.

By sharing information across schools, health, housing, police and social care, frontline workers will be able to see the full picture of an individual family’s needs, and the often-interconnected challenges they face, such as mental health issues, employment, and substance misuse.

Eddie Hughes MP, Minister for Rough Sleeping and Housing, said: “By local services sharing data, expertise and knowledge we can build a more complete picture of what is going on in a family’s life and use this to put in place tailored, wraparound support at an early stage.

“This fund will give local areas the tools to identify and support vulnerable children and families as early as possible and help them to live more positive, fulfilling lives.

This builds on previous work as part of the government’s Supporting Families programme, where data sharing was used to identify children at risk of exploitation.

One of the 10 projects is based on the innovative Born in Bradford study, where data was used to improve the health and well-being of communities, ensuring schools and health services were equipped to deal with the needs of the population.

The 10 areas in England supported by the fund are: Nottingham, Leicestershire and Doncaster; Avon and Somerset; Reading, Portsmouth, Wokingham and West Berkshire; Sunderland; Leeds and Bradford; Doncaster and Wakefield; London; East Sussex; Greater Manchester; and Hertfordshire, Essex and Suffolk.

Some of the projects being funded by the Data Accelerator Fund include:

  • data modelling to identify families that require early help and support from services, with a focus on financial problems and homelessness (Nottingham and Leicestershire)
  • using data from London boroughs, the Metropolitan Police and NHS Northwest London to plan and manage child social care placements (London)
  • a local birth cohort study tracking the health of children born in Doncaster and Wakefield, based on a previous pioneering study in Bradford (Doncaster and Wakefield)

The funding for the data projects will continue until 2023 and will be divided over two years.

The Data Accelerator Fund is part of the government’s wider approach to supporting vulnerable people, alongside the £165m latest phase of the Supporting Families Programme.

This forms part of the Data Improvement Across Government programme – funded by the £200m Shared Outcomes Fund to deliver projects across government.

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NHE May/June 2024

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