In June this year the GLA’s Intelligence Unit began working with Nesta on the pilot for the London Office for Data Analytics (LODA). As the year draws to a close, this post provides an update on the key milestones we have already achieved and looks forward to some of the next steps being taken in 2017.
The Data Science – Identifying HMOs
Working with the City of Westminster our data science partners at the ASI have developed a predictive model to identify unlicensed HMOs. The model uses the local authority’s own data on properties in the private rented sector to identify how likely they are to be an HMO. The database of properties can then be passed back to the local authority as a prioritised list for follow-up by the housing team.
The next step is to feed in data from the other pilot boroughs, and to that end we are currently working with a first wave of boroughs (Bexley, Camden, Islington, and Lambeth) to supply housing and environmental health data to the ASI. Each new dataset will help to improve and refine the model and we are keen to get as many of the pilot boroughs involved as possible.
This is a really exciting project which we think will help boroughs to more efficiently prioritise their investigations of potential HMOs. We hope that this data-based approach will have real tangible impacts on HMO registration in London, potentially improving living conditions for thousands of Londoners.
The Process – Enabling Information Sharing
With help from five boroughs, we have drafted an Information Sharing Protocol for the pilot to ensure we can share data securely, legally and ethically. The protocol is also complemented by a Privacy Impact Assessment. These elements are vital if we are going to demonstrate the viability and practicality of a fully established LODA.
Traditionally, the complexities of information sharing have been one of the biggest barriers to collaborative working in local government. The pilot is proving that that doesn’t have to be the case. Our approach has been to think about how we can share data rather than why we can’t. The frameworks and agreements we are developing now will be the real legacy of the pilot showing the way forward for those who see the real value in sharing, collaborating and learning.
Looking Forward – Evaluation and Operating Model
The pilot is scheduled to run to the end of March and we still have a lot of interesting and important work ahead of us.
The ASI is now ready for data input from all boroughs and will be supporting data managers in the pilot authorities to ensure that the data provided is optimized to produce the best possible results.
We will be holding a meeting for all pilot boroughs in early January to talk through the information sharing agreements, discuss how boroughs can actively participate, and get some feedback on our ideas for how best to review the work we’ve done to date.
Working with colleagues in GLA Economics we are starting to design our testing and evaluation process. The final piece of the pilot jigsaw will be a report on the impacts of the projects and the and lessons learned along the way. A comprehensive evaluation will be a vital part of that review. Our intention is provide a roadmap for a LODA in the future proving that it is not only possible to draw together data from across London to solve the real challenges the city, but that such an approach is an effective and efficient use of public sector resources.
Will 2017 be the year of the LODA? We think so; watch this blog for updates in the new year.