The Catalyst Conference will showcase the outputs of our collaborative initiatives, unpack the challenges and highlight the future potential that data science can offer from high level systems change through to improvements on the ground.
The Conference programme is of particular interest to colleagues based in local authorities with responsibility for technology and digital transformation services, ICT, service improvement, data analytics, operations and corporate and customer services.
The Catalyst Project is a local partnership between the University of Essex, Suffolk County Council and Essex County Council working to improve community services for vulnerable people. The project was awarded £2.2 million by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), a non-departmental public body that funds innovative and strategic projects and is now monitored by the Office for Students (OfS).
Using the University’s cross disciplinary expertise in data analytics and evaluation the Catalyst Project has been developing new tools supporting public service organisations to assess and predict risk for vulnerable members of the community and to fully understand the impact of their service initiatives.
The Catalyst Project Risk Stratification Team have developed a bespoke machine learning tool to help Suffolk County Council (SCC) colleagues to assess the level of risk for individuals, in order to provide timely responses and interventions.
The Catalyst Project Evaluation Team have developed the Spotlight Toolkit, an interactive decision making platform tailored for local authorities. The Spotlight Toolkit aids the design of impact evaluations in order to streamline and better understand the effectiveness of public service initiatives. Both tools are currently being piloted at our partner organisations.
The project’s third work stream dedicated to improving services for vulnerable members of the community and further strengthening the University’s relationship with the local community, is to increase volunteering opportunities through the development of a one-stop Essex Volunteering Hub. The hub will provide a single system to register and record volunteering activity opportunities and volunteering hours logged serving students, external and university volunteer providers.
With Catalyst Project support, student volunteering time has increased substantially over the last 3 years to an average of 30,000 volunteering hours per academic year and has led to students volunteering with 44 external local community organisations in 2018/19 to date. Visit the Catalyst website for further information on all our initiatives.