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Glasgow City Council

Data makes a difference

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Data Makes a Difference - making the best use of data helps to improve services to our citizens

Data underpins everything that we do as a council - it supports both our policy and operational decision making and can help to improve lives and save costs.

It is of huge importance to us and how we work - many of our decisions are based on evidence and research. When we get quality data to support a programme of work, we can reap many benefits - for both our city, our citizens and our organisation.

If we get poor insight data, this can have devastating consequences for our projects and also impact the lives of our citizens.

So what does data mean to you?

Data (factual information) helps the council to improve the services we deliver to our citizens - this can be wide ranging from protecting vulnerable children to collecting bins, gritting the roads and helping businesses to develop.

Data can include all the types of information we collect, store, analyse, and use and can be recorded in many formats such as numbers, text, images, video, maps.

For example, it might include:

  • information about our citizens such as the council services they use and where they live
  • financial information such as our outgoings and income
  • specific employment records on our staff, volunteers and contractors
  • our strategic outcomes/impact measures
  • environmental and population information such as health records

Why is data so important to us?

The use of data plays an increasing role in helping to design, deliver and transform our services to our citizens. Making the best use of accurate and efficient data can help us to improve outcomes and drive efficiencies within current financial constraints.

We all need to better understand the value of collecting, processing and using data across the organisation as data really does make a difference.

Case studies - you tell us how you are using data to make a difference

Data Makes a Difference - in Catering and Facilities Management 

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Katie Forrest, Business Intelligence Manager, SIIT created a bespoke Management Information Pack (MIP) for Financial Services' Catering and Facilities Management (CFM). This 'work profile' uses data such as age, job role and service area, and using SAP Analytic Cloud merged this with absence data from SAP to create an absence profile.

The bespoke MIP enables the CFM Senior Management Team (SMT) to view and analyse key operational data - helping to identify trends, prioritise operational activities and identify areas for improvement.  

Tom McLaren, Head of Service Improvement, CFM, Financial Services said: "The data in the MIP enables all our managers to get a better understanding about how their operations are performing in areas such as finance, workforce changes and absence management. We now have data at our fingertips in a user-friendly format and this can only help to improve the quality of the decisions we make.  Managers can analyse the data and identify where additional support is needed - enabling the development of operational efficiencies and improvements to the way we work."

"If we focus on absence, having this data now in one place, highlights issues in any areas, either in a specific operational area or indeed across CFM. This provides the platform to identify and implement the most appropriate interventions required to support staff and this can include:

  • Early Intervention support aligned to the council's Maximising Attendance Policy.
  • Mental Health and wellbeing support, for example Able Futures sessions being offered to both managers and staff.
  • Promoting our Health and Wellbeing Strategy - so we focus on establishing a positive and healthy working environment.

"Having access to data also promotes better communications between different departments, for example HR and Finance. When all our stakeholders have the same information at the same time, our ability to understand and work together on business issues, results in better solutions and outcomes - data really does make a difference."

Going forward CFM intend to use data to look at financial performance, including :

  • The current Financial Climate
  • Introduction of universal Free School Meals 
  • Operational - cashless catering enabling us to promote meals better


Margaret Murphy, Catering Assistant, St Maria Goretti Primary School.

DMAD - Margaret Murphy

"Data is incredibly important to my role as a school catering assistant.

Every day I record the number of menu items that have been prepared on a product control sheet. This information that I gather helps us to identify which products have been popular with the children in the canteen that day. The data helps us to make informed future menu decisions to make sure the children are served healthy and nutritious meals each week.

Keeping our children happy and well fed is our primary aim and if we didn't collect this data we wouldn't know which items were the most popular to help us create a health and varied menu."

Billy Tweddell, Dispatcher, Eastgate, London Road.

DMAD - Billy Tweddell

Fly tipping is the illegal dumping of waste onto land that has no licence to accept it - it can be as little as one bin bag of household rubbish up to larger quantities such as piles of tyres or even bulky construction waste.

I use data and images from our Public Space CCTV network to cross reference with data and images of fly tipping submitted by members of the public - which are logged into our Remedy system. The images I use provide visual verification of the data in the system and provide an exact location of where the fly tipping has taken place - this creates a more joined-up approach to tackling this issue.

Having access to these data sources enables me to verify the information quickly and efficiently which helps to make sure our council resources are then targeted at the right locations - so we can deal with issues in a timely and effective manner.

The data I use daily is essential to identifying areas of concern and helps our Service teams assess the appropriate course of action that is required. I work in partnership with colleagues in Cleansing, Enforcement and Graffiti Removal to achieve the best outcomes for the city. By working together we help to keep Glasgow clean and a safe place for all our citizens.

Ben Hardie, Team Member, Revenues and Benefits, Financial Services.

DMAD - Ben Hardie

The Revenues and Benefits Team uses data to help support and issue payments to families who are eligible to receive the School Clothing Grant.

In my role, I obtain data from internal sources such as, our Council Tax System to help to identify families who are eligible to receive the School Clothing Grant to purchase school uniforms. By sourcing and using this data I can make sure that the grant payment is made in advance of the new term starting in August - to help families plan ahead.

The accuracy of the data I use is essential to make sure that any families, who are eligible, receive the right financial support they need to purchase their child's uniforms. The data we use as a team allows us to make payments to over 30,000 families per year.

Donna Thomson, Reablement Home Carer Glasgow Health and Social Care Partnership

DMAD - Donna Thomson

"We look after people who have spent time in hospital recovering from injuries and illnesses and need our support to help them get better and get their independence back.

I use key data every day to help me carry out my job to support others.

Handling and using accurate information is incredibly important to my role. Not only do I need to know where I'm going and who I am going to visit, but I also need to understand how to handle sensitive information to help aid their recovery - such as what their illnesses are, their current medication and their previous hospital visits.

I work with a lot of vulnerable people and without key information we would not be able to deliver our services to them. Information is vital to delivering a positive experience for the service user - for example understanding their likes and dislikes can make a real difference to helping them on their road to recovery.

The data I handle everyday makes a difference not only to the service user but also to feedback to their family members about how their loved one are doing on a particular day."

Posters - for your local area

pdf icon Data Makes a Difference - Billy [2Mb]

pdf icon Data Makes a Difference - Ben [1Mb]

pdf icon Data Makes a Difference - Margaret [1Mb]

Our Data Maturity Assessment

In January with support from the Government, we took part in a Data Maturity Assessment. The feedback from this will provide us with the opportunity to identify and understand the different types of data that we handle each day - as part of our digital transformation strategy.

The assessment will help us to:

  • learn how to make best use of our data - such as looking at trends to help make policy decisions
  • understand how we can work with teams across the council to gather the right information in the right way and at the right time.

Who do I speak to if I have a question about data?

Across the council we have a dedicated representative in each Service area who is your first point of contact for any queries regarding how to get the most out of your data - to improve a process or a service for example.

Service Data Champions

Chief Executive's Department

Kimberley Hose

Stephen Sprott

Katie Forrest

Financial Services

Jacqueline Kerr

Andy Gaffney

Stephen Sawers

Neighbourhoods Regeneration Sustainability

Elaine Parkes

Health and Social Care Partnership

Stewart MacMillan

Adrian MacSween

Education Services

Christina MacDonald

Glasgow Life

Andrew Ferguson

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