Goodbye 2023, hello 2024.

I’m not a fan of heralding in the New Year, nor committing to new resolutions! However, I do use the occasion as an opportunity to reflect on what we have delivered over the year and start planning key activities for a fresh calendar. It’s motivational to have a focus for the year ahead and wow it’s going to be another exciting one for the Data and Analytics team in Essex County Council.

clock counting down to 2024Looking back, last year was a somewhat challenging one, but satisfyingly so. After digging deep, we laid solid foundations on which we began to deliver our data strategy implementation plan.

  • We accelerated our journey to create a modern scalable data infrastructure - setting up a new data and reporting platform using Azure Analytics, moving 800GB of data and over 100 self-serve reports to the cloud. This now provides reliable, accessible, and streamlined access to data and insights for those that need it to make day to day decisions.
  • We have new dedicated analytics teams aligned to our ICS’. Analysts now work alongside health colleagues in all three ICS areas and can safely and securely access data platforms with joint health and social care data.
  • We have collaborated with ONS Data Science Campus to roll out our data literacy learning agenda to more than 750 employees across Essex and were recognised nationally for the impact to our data culture and our innovation with a double award win at the British data awards.
  • With the explosion of generative AI marking 2023, I’m super proud that we can continue to think about deployment of data and analytics in ethical and transparent ways. We have two data ethics professionals who completed the ODI qualification and the whole team completed an introduction to data ethics to ensure we embed good and robust practices into the work we do.

So, 2024, where to next… building the structural framework of our new home, aka the walls, floor, and roof!

  • We will be rolling out Azure Analytics across our place and corporate functions, with a view of creating a placed based approach to data management mapping out where walls are required.
  • We will be reinforcing our structure by building strong relationships with city, district, and borough councils to increase accessibility and join up our data assets to generate new insight and build capability.
  • Standardising and professionalising the role of data engineer across our organisation, as we have done for Analysts using the Government Data Science capabilities framework will ensure the teams have the skills and support to achieve the highest build quality.
  • We will be raising the roof, exploring the tools and applications that are available for Analysts in Azure to help us create and deploy end to end analytical tools to help the organisation to plan, prioritise and predict things.

And what better way to mark the completion of the build than to proclaim it from the rooftop!

In March we’ll be getting vocal by hosting a Data Talks event for Essex public services, in collaboration with ecda and our partners.  We want to connect with more partners, share how others have overcome barriers, inspire decision makers with examples of how people and data come together to create positive change and create an evidenced informed culture to stay one step ahead.  We will be making our energy for all things data and analytics contagious, talking about our experiences and lessons learnt on strategy, delivery, capabilities and much more. Save the dates for Data Talks 4 to 6 March 20204, full programme to be announced soon!

I’ve never constructed a house, but I can confidently say that I have built a home for data and analytics to flourish and thrive within ECC.  Subscribe to the blog, and join us for Data Talks to keep abreast of this year’s hard graft as we continue to support colleagues to improve outcomes for our residents.

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