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Business intelligence (BI) reporting is crucial for UK local authorities, particularly in providing insights for informed decision-making in Children’s and Adults’ Social Care departments. These departments frequently encounter challenges that necessitate changes to their BI reporting, such as updates to case management systems, legislative changes, migrations to new reporting tools, or the need to enhance the utilisation of existing reports.

Nottingham County Council (NCC) Adults Services experienced several urgent needs for changes in their reporting strategies and had recently transitioned to a centralised BI model. The partnership with BetterGov aimed to address these needs by establishing a new social care pathway within their case management system and enhancing the usage of existing management information dashboards.

Aligning central and local BI strategies

Transitioning from a decentralised to a centralised BI model poses challenges, including potential disorientation among local service teams and a perceived loss of control over BI outputs. To address this, it’s crucial to develop a local reporting strategy that meets the specific needs of individual services while aligning with the broader central BI strategy.

BetterGov collaborated with the NCC Adults Services to align their local BI strategy with the organisation’s central BI framework. This process involved engaging the strategic leadership team to determine the corporate direction and the needs of the existing BI strategy.

Engaging in comprehensive review and strategy development

BetterGov and NCC Adults Services thoroughly reviewed existing report outputs to identify the key requirements for local reporting and the reasons for the underutilisation of the current BI offerings. This involved discussions with staff members in the report’s lifecycle, from gathering requirements to development, testing, and usage.

The insights gained from these discussions helped shape a local BI strategy for Adults Services, leading to several immediate implementations, including:

  • Using video tutorials to help staff understand the information in dashboards and how to maximise their use.
  • Establishing report and dashboard design principles tailored to the service to improve the presentation and understanding of information.
  • Automation and distribution of key reports to service leads, reducing the need for managers to seek out critical information manually.
  • Exploration of using existing reports from the case management system to leverage local capabilities while staying aligned with the central BI strategy.
  • Prioritisation of the Adults report development roadmap to inform central BI services about essential developments.

These initiatives not only enhanced the understanding of localised BI needs at NCC Adult Services but also facilitated immediate improvements and set the stage for continuous enhancements in local BI strategy development.

Embedding social care practitioners in the BI process

A key aspect of BetterGov’s approach is ensuring that social care practitioners are fully integrated throughout development. This involvement allows their firsthand knowledge and best practices to be incorporated into BI outputs, promoting greater acceptance and usage. The same principle was maintained in delivering BI and reporting solutions, ensuring that social care practitioners’ insights were at the forefront of strategy development and implementation.

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