Local authority LIFT Dashboard users joined our latest steering group to share their data successes and challenges, hear about new updates we’ve made and shape our development roadmap

New and experienced LIFT Dashboard clients from 11 local authorities came together recently to talk about using their administrative data to identify, engage and track their vulnerable households.

Our technical team shared previews of new visualisations coming soon, as well as improvements we’ve made to existing screens. Together, we discussed and prioritised our planned development roadmap for the year ahead.

Attendees joined the LIFT Dashboard steering group to:

  • Compare how they’re using their data
  • Hear the challenges others have resolved
  • Get advice from peers and provide feedback to Policy in Practice

The steering group kicked off with clients sharing their own experiences on using the Dashboard to help their residents. Three key takeaways from the session were:

  1. Short, sharp campaigns using the insights from the data are the best way to create impact
  2. Tracking outcomes will evidence and underpin funding bids and win buy-in internally
  3. Policy in Practice has resources to help clients embed usage, manage stakeholders and execute data activity plans

1. Short, sharp wins are most effective

Tower Hamlets Council’s experience

Using data from the LIFT Dashboard, Tower Hamlets identified 125 mixed age couples who were potentially missing out on Pension Credits. They developed a targeted take-up campaign which included informative posters being put up in community centres and care homes as well as meetings with council teams. They then created a direct mail campaign with ‘Need to Read’ mail being sent from the Mayor’s office, who reported a high volume of positive responses looking for more information on how to claim. Of those who were identified, 80 were found to be eligible with only 20-30 already claiming. The next action is to refresh the latest data and compare the results against the original data, anyone who still not claiming will receive individual letters as part of the Policy in Practice crafted action plan.

Royal Borough of Greenwich’s experience

Greenwich identified 95 couples who were potentially missing out on Pension Credit, or in some cases where switching the lead claimant would increase the overall value of the benefit. Greenwich used a direct phone call approach to engage with the couples. Conversations began with a focus on Pension Credit and would widen out to broader eligibility conversation. This strategy found that in some cases couples were also entitled to the Severe Disability Premium, meaning a large combined benefit increase. Greenwich reported very little resistance to direct calling and it is now the preferred approach for smaller cohorts of less than 100.

London Borough of Barking and Dagenham and Cornwall Council’s experiences

Barking and Dagenham found that follow up calls after initial letters proved a highly effective approach. Similarly, Cornwall Council reported that unscripted phone calls were the best approach to increase engagement.

Key takeaway

By focusing on smaller cohorts and using direct communication methods like phone calls, Local Authorities can make quicker interventions with those who are most likely to be missing out. Having broader eligibility conversations before deadlines also increases the chances of identifying new opportunities for income maximisation such as Severe Disability Premiums.

2. Track outcomes to underpin funding bids and win buy-in internally

London Borough of Tower Hamlets’ experience

LIFT Dashboard data has supporting funding bids for Tower Hamlets and helped raised awareness internally through DHP interventions. Data has helped in regeneration work using maps and informed their front door approach which has given them access to more resources to manage their campaigns.

Royal Borough of Greenwich’s experience

By tracking their outcomes accurately Greenwich could get buy-in across the organisation. They have since rolled the Dashboard out across four teams and say that they now target their resources in a much smarter way thanks to the LIFT Dashboard. Their analysis has also recently reinforced a successful funding application for the Flexible Homelessness Support Grant.

Key takeaway

By measuring and managing the Dashboard data, Local Authorities can not only use it to win funding but can prove its value internally. By doing so and gaining internal buying more resources can be allocated and the Dashboard can then be rolled out across different departments allowing them to be more targeted in their work and importantly using their time and budget more effectively.

3. Maximise all of Policy in Practice’s resources

Staying abreast of the latest Policy in Practice resources and updates means that the Dashboard will continue to work for clients and will increase their ability to do more with the data.

A recent example of this was a campaign across all of our lift clients to identify and target mixed aged couple eligible for Pension Credit until August 13th. After the 13th, couple would have to claim Universal Credit, which is between around £7,000 less generous per annum.

Councils in close contact with the Policy in Practice team developed a range of resources to ensure their efforts went further. Contact Policy in Practice for templates on how to go about turning insight into action.

New developments we shared

We shared two brand new screens and two improved screens with attendees.

1. New: LIFT summary screen

Draft new screen showing an overview of low-income households by ward, and a policy reform timeline showing greatest potential for impact.

The new LIFT Summary screen gives an at-a-glance overview of low-income households in your area, including the number of families below the poverty line as well as those in a cash shortfall. The policy reform timeline shows the impact of individual policies on your low-income households, while the potential for impact section pulls out data insights on specific actions you can take, helping you to develop preventative targeted support campaigns easily.

“I would have killed for the Policy Reform Timeline two weeks ago!”
Abby, Cornwall Council

2. New: household tracking screen

Draft new screen that allows you to determine if your intervention has achieved the outcomes you desired

The new household tracking screen has been developed in response to client feedback and allows you to track cohorts of households over time in order to evidence the impacts of your interventions.

“This screen is going to be so powerful for demonstrating the impact the tool can have.”

Corin, Royal Borough of Greenwich

We received lots of useful feedback to make the screen more impactful and will be working on this in the weeks ahead.

3. Improved: household level screen

Improved screen showing the financial resilience of a single household over time

We’ve improved the household level screen so that those with the correct permissions can more easily see a client’s journey over time. This is useful following an intervention campaign, for example, where you want to investigate further to see why an intervention succeeded or failed.

“To take appropriate action early, you want to know a client’s trajectory, what’s changed and why they are now starting to struggle.”

4. Improved: street level screen

Improved screen that now brings popular filters together, making sophisticated targeted intervention campaigns easier

We’ve improved the user experience of this screen to make it easier for you to interrogate your data in certain ways. A new sophisticated filters functionality has been created, based on client feedback, to allow you to create better intervention campaigns. Identify households based on various demographic, employment, geography and interventions criteria.

Other key updates for the session included the LIFT Dashboard Action Plan, helping councils to share good ideas across the LIFT user base.

Challenges aired and solutions discussed

Participating clients enthusiastically contributed towards our plans for the year ahead. This included a campaign calling for greater access to Universal Credit data, increasing the speed and frequency of analytics updates. A key feedback point from the steering group was how useful attendees find meeting with other users to get new ideas, discuss strategies and learn best-practice with data.

Policy in Practice will be making significant investments in each of these areas the months ahead, helping our clients to turn insight into action. To learn more and join our ‘leading light’ clients, please email hello@policyinpractice.co.uk.

Other steps you can take to learn more are to:

  1. View the slides from the steering group here
  2. Read what happened at our previous steering group here
  3. Register for our next steering group, taking place on Thursday 23 January 2020 at 10:30 to 13:30 at our Millbank Tower office in Westminster, here
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