ecda: a game changer

Tik Tok set lockdown alive with its launch in March 2020.

Cycling shorts paired with a blazer was the ‘athleisure’ fashion trend from 2019.

I haven’t tried either of these, I’ll let you make up your mind if that’s a good thing or not. My point however is, if like me don’t always have your finger on every pulse, you might not have discovered the Essex Centre for Data Analytics yet. Worry not, we’ll get you started with some things you need to know…

What is the Essex Centre for Data Analytics?

If you’re going to be a regular to this blog, the first thing I should impart is that we call ourselves ecda. Not because we are too lazy to say and spell Essex Centre for Data Analytics out in full, but because: we LOVE acronyms in the public sector; the full name looked a bit rubbish in our logo; and the Essex Office for Data Analytics – or EODA – was never going to roll off the tongue as easily as SODA, WODA or even YODA – yes our colleagues at the Yorkshire Office for Data Analytics really hit the name jackpot there!

ecda is a partnership between Essex County Council, Essex Police and The University of Essex, who have joined together to combine their data, skills and knowledge to create powerful new insight to support our communities and plan for the future.

ecda was established in 2019 following a three-year pilot, called Essex Data, which successfully supported more than £3million of funding investment for partnership working and delivery of new services in Essex. If you’re interested in more about our history you can find it here.

Meet the team

Creating a Centre of Excellence for data sharing in Essex takes talent! Data Scientists, Data Analysts, Data Developers, information governance, ethics, project management, research and engagement expertise are all required to enable Essex to bring together and safely and ethically share data that generates new insight on some of our most challenging issues such as homelessness, domestic abuse, gang violence, physical inactivity and mental health crisis.

There are lots of faces behind team ecda. We are committed to listening, working together, sharing our skills, knowledge and expertise to amplify the great work that takes places across public services in Essex to deliver action that creates the kind of Essex we all want to live, learn and work in.

ecda's operational team is made up of:

ecda's core team – David Caplan, Emma Sparrow and Clare McLean

Essex County Council – Nicola Mallett, Stephen Simpkin and Tom Aldworth

Essex Police – Mark Johnson and Jen Housego

University of Essex – Alex Quiroz Flores

We think we’re a pretty good bunch, with a great sense of humour, but once again, we’ll let you make your own mind up as we introduce ourselves in the coming weeks via the blog!

What difference is ecda making to people’s lives?

Through joining and analysing data, and generating valuable new insight, to date ecda has helped to:

  • Identify communities that are not physically active, which has informed delivery of new services, such as Street Tag, to promote active lifestyles throughout Essex
  • Identify and support groups of vulnerable young people that are at risk of being recruited into gangs
  • Create shared intelligence to enable safer business practices
  • Bring together health and social care data for the first time to understand how mental health crisis occurs
  • Identify communities that needed support as part of the emergency response to covid-19
  • Understand demand for services such as domestic abuse, child neglect and mental health that had occurred during lockdown to inform how services are planned.

But we’re just getting started. Our first year focused on establishing some core resources, and our second year has been about collaboration. As we enter year three we’ll be working with our partners and citizens to create the data capability and culture we want here in Essex. We have some new projects underway, some that are currently being scoped, and we’re also asking our citizens and partners to shortlist new project ideas for us to work on this year – find out more about all of this right here as our blog content expands.

Unlike the fashion trends to be consigned to the ‘it was a phase photo albums’ data analytics is here to stay, thank goodness! Smarter use of our data will empower us to make smarter decisions and ecda is here to enable that game change.

Don’t miss a thing, subscribe to ecda's blog here.

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