A collaborative effort between whatimpact.com, the Ministry of Defence, Babcock, Plymouth County Council, and Microsoft has resulted in a win for the team at the Institute of Analytics (IOA) Data for Social Good Award. The team came together to work on a Social Value in Defence project that aimed to demonstrate the power of cross-sector collaboration and open data in improving people’s lives in local areas across the country. The project involved the creation of a social value deprivation data platform pilot that aggregated open-source data to identify areas for social improvement and mandatory social value delivery.
The pilot council, Plymouth, was chosen as the focus for the project due to its involvement in the wider ‘Plymouth Pathfinder’ initiative. The goal of the project was to build a prototype data platform that could be used by public, private, and third sector organizations to better understand the socio-economic status of the area and plan social value activities in a meaningful way.
In just three days, the team built and tested a comprehensive dataset combining advanced analytics, aggregating various open data sources to create an in-depth analysis of the socio-economic status of Plymouth. The pilot was a huge success and was recognized by the IOA as the best example they had seen of how “data can be used to solve the humanitarian and environmental problems facing society today.”
whatimpact.com is the only social value management platform in the UK and helps companies to match with local VCSEs (voluntary, community, and social enterprise) organizations and receive comprehensive social impact reporting. With the help of the data gained from the new data platform, organizations can now plan their social value activities in a more meaningful way and deliver and report on the value, maximizing the impact on society.
David Whipp, a social value specialist with the Ministry of Defence, said, “What we have created doesn’t just involve defence – this is definitely a one Government approach. We look forward to sharing our results with other Government departments so they can all learn from our experience.”
Kat Dixon, an analytics business partner at Babcock, added, “This is a real achievement for all involved and demonstrates what can be done with determined people, great partnerships, and a clear vision about how we can work together to create a better world for us all to live in.”
This project is just the first step in a series of future hackathons aimed at encouraging businesses and governments to have a greater understanding of social value requirements. With the government’s procurement policy now placing a strong emphasis on social value, the project demonstrates how data can be used to create tangible benefits aimed at improving people’s lives.