Using data to set priorities and get funding – A real life example

Back in the Summer of 2013, I was asked to deliver a ‘data presentation’ at each of our four Locality Partnerships. The brief was pretty simple – each partnership was having a workshop to set their priorities, and to do that, they wanted an understanding of the needs of each area. Each member was asked, prior to the session, to canvas views from residents and visitors to each Partnership area on what they liked, and what they would change about the areas.

To support the qualitative data, I was asked to look at as much quantitative data as possible, and present to the group the key messages that the data told. You can download a copy of that slidedeck here.

After the presentation, and much discussion, some priorities were identified, one of which was to reduce isolation in the elderly. The South Locality has an older population than the other localities (slightly older overall, but some wards very much so), and higher life expectancy. Having looked at the data, it felt right to me that this should be one of their priorities. Project groups were set up in the workshop, with named leads, to tackle each priority.

Fast forward to Spring 2014, I was approached again to support the Locality Partnership. This time, the project group had identified a potential source of funding to support the work, through Our Place In order to complete the bid, we were asked for data that demonstrated that there were people who would benefit from the project targeting isolation in the elderly, at quite short notice.

So we decided to use census data to establish how many older people there were, living alone, at the time of the census. Using table DC1108EW from the census (Living arrangements by age and sex, available on NOMIS) gave us the data that we need – the number of people by ward aged 65 or over, who were living alone, and the number of people aged 65 or over who were widowed.

Chart showing over 65s by Ward
Chart showing over 65s by Ward

The area of focus for the bid was Village ward (Timperley – an economically diverse Ward comprising the Broomwood Estate, and surrounding areas), and the data showed that there were 826 people aged over 65 living alone, which equated to almost 10% of the population of over 16s in the Ward. The high number, and the high concentration, meant that Village Ward seems like a very good place to deliver this kind of project. Here is the population pyramid for the Ward – very different from Trafford as a whole.

Population pyramid for Village Ward, Census 2011
Population pyramid for Village Ward, Census 2011

I found out that on Friday 3rd October that we had been successful with the bid, and had been awarded £20,000 to deliver a range of projects in the Ward, with various partners. Clearly there was a lot of input from other partners in the bid, bu the contribution that the data made should be evident.

Increasing ‘inward investment’ (bringing money into Trafford, by applying for grants or other investment) is one of the things that the Innovation and Intelligence Lab is hoping to do, and this evidences the fact that there is a need for it. As well as increasing investment, however, the work should also go some way towards improving the lives of elderly people in the Ward. Reducing social isolation will make them happier and healthier, which is obviously a good thing to do, but could also reduce demand on other services, such as GPs, and social care.

This, then, in a few short paragraphs is one clear example of how we’ve used data to prompt discussion, and identify a need. The data then supported the bidding process for an amount of money, AND allowed the partnership to target the money and resources in the place it would be most effective. The next step from a data point of view is to measure the effectiveness of the project, and see whether the model is worth repeating in the other Locality areas, to positively affect even more people.

High Five!

Don’t leave me hanging.

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