Building on the success of the previous LIFT steering groups held in 2019 and 2018, we welcomed many of our local authority LIFT clients to join us in discussing the insights they are getting from their administrative data using LIFT and new data-led prevention campaign ideas. In this blog post we summarise the conversations that were had about delivering targeted and preventative interventions for residents, and share how our LIFT clients are maximising their data’s impact.

Established LIFT clients share successes

Users were keen to share their stories of good data-led prevention campaign ideas using LIFT. Almost everyone in the room had successful results to share from a recent mixed-age couples pension credit take-up campaign, with Folkestone and Hythe District Council reporting especially strong results, more than 50% takeup from the 98 households they targeted, from the first campaign they ran using LIFT.

Royal Borough of Greenwich were very proud of their Early Homeless Prevention Project, which uses insights from LIFT to intervene with at-risk households before they reach crisis point, while Homes for Haringey shared the benefits of dissecting different demographics such as disability, employment and financial resilience, to target those impacted by welfare reforms such as the bedroom tax.

New LIFT clients get top tips from peers

Having heard about these successes, new users London Borough of Redbridge and City of Westminster councils were eager to hear from their more established peers how to quickly deliver impact using LIFT. As well as learning from the successful campaigns shared above, top tips included:

  1. Start small. Identify a quick and easy benefits take-up campaign to pursue, then use the resulting good news stories, such as Haringey Council’s, to make the case for more resources to be devoted to even more impactful campaigns
  2. Take time to explore your data within the LIFT dashboard. Have a look at all the ways you can break down your resident’s experiences such as by employment status, by cash shortfall levels, by housing situation etc, and target resources such as DHPs, accordingly
  3. Identify or introduce a time pressure. For example, the deadline for mixed age couples to apply for pension credit gave a clear incentive for councils to quickly act to unlock this potential source of income. The upcoming deadline for free over 75’s TV licenses, 1 June 2020, which will soon only be available to those on Pension Credit, could provide a similar incentive to provide urgency to your campaign this year
  4. Ensure your outreach teams are prepared. Users agreed that a common and unexpected challenge they encountered when targeting residents with complex needs had been the specialist skills the outreach teams needed. Whilst in the past councils might have regularly done such outreach work, there was a feeling the skills required to proactively support residents needed to be rediscovered if campaigns were to have maximum impact
  5. Use the support of the Policy in Practice team. Users recommended getting in touch with us for help and inspiration on how to maximise your impact

Automate data refreshes for more timely insights

During the meeting Policy in Practice introduced the new process we’ve developed to automate data uploads. We know that LIFT clients have requested more frequent data refreshes to their LIFT in order to get insights that are more recent so we cut the time from data creation to data insights dramatically, down from 6 weeks to 6 days. At the same time, the process is now less labour intensive and more secure.

More timely insights will allow LIFT clients to execute intervention campaigns that will have more impact, and give the evidence needed to see what’s working, faster. This is a topic covered recently in our webinar, Designing effective data-led local authorities, featuring guest speaker Mark Fowler, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

“The more timely your data, the more powerful it is. If you want to operationalise the information you’re using it’s absolutely critical that the data is timely.” Mark Fowler, Community Solutions Director, LB Barking and Dagenham

Automating data feeds to LIFT to enable data-led prevention campaign ideas

Getting actionable insights from data is now much faster for the LIFT clients who are automating the data feed from their administrative datasets to their LIFT

Turning insights into action: new data-led prevention campaign ideas

LIFT users recommended different prevention campaigns they’ve executed using the insights gained from their LIFT. There was a detailed discussion on the value of proactive, preventative outreach work, and the highly positive reaction residents had to calls letting them know they might be eligible for Discretionary Housing Payments (DHPs) or Pension Credit. Users agreed that, no matter how much DHPs were publicised, the people most in need remained unaware of them. In this way, LIFT played a critical role in identifying vulnerability and then allowing the creation of targeted intervention to people who may otherwise have missed out.

Users also identified the following data-led prevention campaign ideas using LIFT:

  1. Target people impacted by welfare reforms such as carers premium, the two-child limit, the benefits cap or Universal Credit, particularly those in the private rented sector who might be put at risk of homelessness and who might be unaware of council support available to them
  2. Identify people in cash shortfall who could be eligible for Healthy Start, Water Sure, Warm Home discounts or free school meals, and reach out to inform them of their eligibility and how to apply
  3. Compare people with overpayments of housing benefit who are also affected by welfare reforms such as the LHA or bedroom tax and consider how the council might intervene to avoid residents from building up large debts
  4. Focus employment services on those wards with high numbers in cash shortfall and lower barriers to employment
  5. Identify policy changes that may mean some people lose out and execute time defined campaigns to boost incomes before deadlines come into effect

LIFT users advocated using both scripted phone calls and letters to reach customers most effectively. One council shared their positive experience of working with the Money Advice Trust who critiqued their communications to ensure they were compelling for different audiences.  Attendees also discussed ways to finetune campaign strategies on a rolling basis in order to improve outcomes and the overall effectiveness of data-led prevention campaigns.

LIFT clients to collaborate on a Pension Credit and TV license takeup campaign

Last year LIFT users successfully turned insights from data into action via the mixed-age couples pension credit take-up campaign. This year, with Policy in Practice’s close support and the collaborative help of each other, LIFT clients agreed to run another time defined insights into action campaign. The focus is on increasing the take up of Pension Credit and free TV licenses for over 75’s before new rules around eligibility come into effect after 1 June 2020. Areas for collaboration include the campaign design, communications elements, campaign measurement and benchmarking of results.

Attendees felt that the change in who can get a free TV license is a strong catalyst for ensuring maximium take up of Pension Credit, especially since the alternative will require over 75’s to pay £154.50 for their TV license or pay a fine.

LIFT clients are invited to join a campaign planning webinar on Tuesday 18 February to get started, details and registration here.

Next steps

  1. View the slides from the steering group here
  2. The next LIFT Steering Group will be held on Thursday 18 June. If you are already a LIFT client please reserve your place here.
  3. If you are not yet a LIFT client and would like to know how the tool helps local authorities to identify vulnerability, target support and track change using existing administrative data sets please email hello@policyinpractice.co.uk.
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