Bristol’s work to identify vulnerable people through the innovative use of analytics has been recognised by a national award.

The Think Family Database developed by Insight Bristol, which includes both Bristol City Council and Avon and Somerset Constabulary staff, has been declared the best in the country at the iESE 10th anniversary Public Sector Transformation Awards for work that included helping police to identify more than 300 young people at heightened risk of sexual exploitation.

The database joins up information from multiple public sector sources including the police, council, Department for Work and Pensions, Department for Education, and social care systems, to identify risk and vulnerability using indicators from the national Troubled Families programme and improve outcomes for families across the city.

The regularly-updated information has helped coordinate support for ‘at risk’ families, while developing models to help identify children at risk of sexual exploitation (CSE), potential domestic violence offenders and victims, those at risk of going missing and a predictive model measuring behavioural disorders.

The Insight team has shared its learning with other local authorities and organisations, with government departments, including the Department of Health, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Home Office, visiting to witness its benefits first hand.

Gary Davies, Bristol City Council’s Head of Early Intervention & Targeted Services, said: “In a challenging world of limited resources it is important that we try to develop new ways of thinking.

“The advanced use of modern software to help us understand risk and vulnerability, by looking at the data we hold, has great potential to help us support those who are most in need. Sometimes those families are obvious but often they are hidden.

“If we can also identify, help and support those hidden families before their issues turn to crisis, not only have we helped them but we have protected children.”

Cllr Helen Godwin, the cabinet member for women, children and families, said: “The Insight Bristol team’s innovative use of data has already helped to deliver tangible benefits and make a hugely positive impact on Bristol City Council’s continuing wider work with children and families.

“I am delighted to see those steps forward receiving the recognition they deserve.”

Insight Bristol team leader Tom Fowler said: “We are very proud to be involved in and contributing to the groundbreaking analytical work being undertaken by the Insight Bristol team.”

Geraint Evans