Meet me blog - Laura Llewellyn, from the Operational Performance and Intelligence team

How does data influence the work the council does? Laura Llewellyn, from the Operational Performance and Intelligence team, explains.

Illustration of a mobile phone and an open laptop with graphs and charts on the screens.

Many people, including those who work in the council, probably won't have heard of us. As the Operational Performance and Intelligence (OPI) Team, we provide a range of services to council teams and external partners to help them understand and improve their performance and the service they provide residents.

Our work is important and we're very proud to have been shortlisted for the LGC (Local Government Chronicle) Large Team of the Year award for 2023.

We work with teams across adults, children's and public health services to make sure they have access to the data they need to manage their services in a productive way.

We use intelligence data to produce reports, dashboards, interactive tools and maps to evidence performance, support commissioning and inspections and make sure decisions made are backed up by data.

We also strive to support services with understanding their data so they are confident in using the products and tools we provide them with.

Our team is also responsible for submitting over 100 statutory returns to government departments; we collect it, double check it and make sure it is submitted in time. We also manage key performance indicators every month and provide a wide range of advice and support on various types of data analysis.

We provide business analyst and system training support for LiquidLogic, which is the system used by adult social care and children's services to help manage their cases. Also ContrOCC, which is the system used by adult social care and children's services for their finances. This is important as social care is where the majority of taxpayer's money goes, to help the vulnerable and those who need it most. Plus, we provide support for children and public health strategic meetings and inspections, such as Ofsted.

During the COVID-19 pandemic the team went above and beyond to produce an immense amount of data reporting within very short timescales and put new processes in place to collect and analyse data quickly and responsively. Since COVID we've been focusing on automating reports, dashboards, tools and maps so we can focus more on advanced data analysis and statistical techniques that allow the council to become more data driven. 

Over the past year we've been really keen to improve how we share learning across the team and showcase the great work that our staff do, regardless of subject matter specialisms. Each week we have a 'Show and Tell' session where a team member demonstrates a piece of work, a project or a technique they've worked on. The range of skills demonstrated has been incredible; forget Excel, we're talking more machine learning, regressions analysis and web scraping! It's been a great way to bring our large team together whilst working remotely, as well as giving individuals a chance to shine.

SmartSouthend is where the public facing data tools and analyses, we produce can be found, including interactive tools and maps. It is also where we publish the JSNAs (Joint Strategic Needs Assessment) on a variety of topics.

We're really hoping we'll have some good news to announce following the LGA Awards on 8 June. Wish us luck!

Published: 5th May 2023

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