Data analysis to support multi-agency working for vulnerable children and families

Multi-agency data can be used to identify trends, risks and opportunities, and to inform the development of effective policies and services for vulnerable children and families (NHS Digital, 2022).

For example, identifying and supporting current and future potential families at risk, understanding needs to inform preventative and responsive action, investigating outcomes for certain groups, informing current and future funding allocations, and shaping service and commissioning decisions.   

However, from the WCPP’s previous work, and through liaising with stakeholders, it is clear that whilst local and regional bodies are collecting data, it is not routinely being fully utilised  to inform policy and practice . At least in part, this reflects a lack of capacity for data analysis, and it suggests that some organisations are not making effective use of the available data.  

As a response to this, we partnered with CASCADE and Public Health Wales to undertake a piece of work that sought to collate and describe the publicly accessible multi-agency data that could inform local, regional and Wales-wide  discussions and decisions around funding and commissioning of services to support children and families. 

The publicly available multi-agency data landscape in Wales relevant to children’s social care is vast and complicated. Investment into improving current data dashboards, updating source links and adding quality reports is essential in improving the use and accessibility of multi-agency data in Wales. 

The report outlines recommendations for action in three areas:  

  1. Enhancing existing outputs of publicly available Welsh data, by improving information about the data available, and focusing resource into maintaining and improving existing data dashboards; 
  2. Addressing key data gaps to include data on early intervention and prevention, referrals and outcomes; and 
  3. Possible future directions of data use in Wales, including improving stakeholder engagement in data collection and use.