BLOG POST

May 13, 2022

Better collaboration, bigger impact: How data-sharing accelerates innovation

Collaboration and information sharing across UK government can achieve meaningful transformation and improved services for citizens. This blog explores the Shared Outcomes Fund's role in accelerating this effort and encouraging closer collaboration between government departments

A common misconception around digital transformation is seeing it as a series of processes where any public service can be ‘digitised’. But meaningful transformation to improve outcomes for citizens can only be realised when departments work together, share information, and design with end-users in mind.

Many of the most vulnerable in society, those with multiple complex needs, live in a landscape of fragmented data and incomplete information which limits their access to public services and often reinforces their dependencies. For example, 40% of rough sleepers have a drug dependency that is not picked up by healthcare providers. COVID-19 brought this issue into even starker relief as different departments and local services faced huge problems trying to access and use data effectively to meet citizens’ needs.

The Government’s ‘Shared Outcomes Fund’, which supports data-sharing and working across national and local departments and services, is indicative of a new exciting approach. Some of the early projects implemented via this Fund have at their core a mission to improve and join-up services across the public sector. Over the past 24 months, PUBLIC has helped deliver 3 flagship Shared Outcomes Fund projects working with 8+ Government departments.

The Prison Leavers Innovation Challenge, a project led by HMPPS and currently in a pilot phase, aims to develop innovative new solutions to break the cycle of reoffending by improving the coordination of stakeholders involved in a prisoner’s day of release and key appointments. The Better Outcomes through Linked Data Project, led by MoJ in partnership with 6 HMG departments, aims to link data across the public sector and improve coordination across policy, management, and frontline roles to support vulnerable adults. Another crucial example is the Counter-Disinformation Data Platform, led by DCMS but delivered in collaboration with 7 departments, seeking to improve the government’s sharing and analysis of data to build a deeper understanding of disinformation and related risks to the information environment, supporting the development of future responses.

The projects above, and the most effective public services more broadly, often rely on having clear data on the citizens they serve. Historically, institutional and technological barriers have meant that the government and public sector have struggled to understand the full picture of what its ‘end-users’ need most. The vast majority (71%) of local councils express that siloed data was a ‘huge’ or ‘big’ issue within their organisation, impacting service delivery or the way the organisation worked, which was exemplified in 9 out of 10 of England’s biggest councils still failing to meet accessibility needs.  

The Government’s Shared Outcomes Fund is working to address this issue. Such projects to join up and use data for services is exactly what the Government needs to improve efficiency; reduce duplication, and ultimately achieve better support and outcomes for citizens.

Later this month PUBLIC is hosting a Shared Outcomes Fund roundtable, with representatives from HMT and across government, to share best practice and challenges in delivering these projects. If you are interested to participate please contact freya@public.io

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Authors

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Mahlet Yared

Lead, Data Services

Photo by the author

Henry Taylor

Associate, Public Affairs

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