mapping statistics on childrens outcomes

Providing insight to improve the quality of children’s lives in the border regions of Ireland

Background

Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) is a cross border health and social care partnership comprising the Health and Social Care Board, the Public Health Agency, the Southern and Western Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland and the border counties of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in the Republic of Ireland. CAWT is managing a range of cross border health and social care programmes, part financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund through the INTERREG IVA cross-border Programme managed by the Special EU Programmes Body. One of these project is the CAWT Outcomes for Children Project which was set up to assess need and plan services for children and young people at a cross border level.

Stephen Barry is Information Support Officer for the CAWT Outcomes for Children Project and has been in his current post since January 2010. He explains that mapping indicators is an important part of the partnership’s work. “The mapping of indicators, which are linked to outcomes for children as well as services, has the potential to underpin integrated planning of services for every child in Ireland,” he says.

The project promotes an outcomes-based approach where each outcome is informed by a cluster of key statistical indicators that are drawn from a number of different agencies. One of the objectives is to provide a web-based information system that can be used to measure how a child’s life is improving. “The idea is not to look at specific indicators but instead to look at a child’s life overall,” he says. This is because commissioners are increasingly concerned with quality of outcomes and will make decisions about the way that services are planned based on the insight they get from the information.

The project has always provided the insight in a visual format. However, the existing legacy system relied on a content management system that was getting out of date but according to Stephen updating the system was not an option. He was tasked with finding a new way of presenting the information in a better interactive visual format. “I came across InstantAtlas when I was reviewing the work done by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and its Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service (NINIS). This provides free access to statistical and locational information relating to small areas across Northern Ireland. One of the interesting features was the ability to compare indicators over time.”

Getting started

CAWT promotes an outcome-based approach where each outcome is informed by a cluster of key statistical indicators that are drawn from a number of different agencies. One of CAWT’s objectives is to provide a web-based information system that can be used to measure how a child’s life is improving. “The idea is not to look at specific indicators but instead to look at a child’s life overall,” he says. This is because commissioners are increasingly concerned with quality of life and will make decisions about the way that services are planned based on the insight they get from CAWT.

CAWT has always provided the insight in a visual format. However, the existing legacy system relied on a content management system that was getting out of date but according to Stephen updating the system was not an option. He was tasked with finding a new way presenting the insight in a visual format. “I came across InstantAtlas when I was reviewing the work done by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and its Northern Ireland Neighborhood Information Service (NINIS). This provides free access to statistical and locational information relating to small areas across Northern Ireland. One of the interesting features was the ability to compare indicators over time.”

Health Live Birth Rate Interactive Map

Meeting the need

“We have collated data from a wide range of agencies that cover health, safety (including road safety), education, housing, crime and combined this with socio-economic information. We also have access to child health data."

Stephen says this rich data source is complimented by the addition of two national databases for the Republic of Ireland covering disability. “Our remit is the mapping of the information to indicators linked to strategic governmental outcomes for children. The mapping of indicators linked to outcomes for children as well as services has the potential to underpin integrated planning of services for all our children.”

Stephen explains that the Project Board is linking work already undertaken within the project to both the Northern Ireland Children’s Strategy framework in ‘Our Children and Young People – Our Pledge (2006)’ and the Republic of Ireland ‘National Children’s Strategy (2000)’ , the ‘National Set of Child Well-Being Indicators in (2005)’ , and the ‘Agenda for Children's services (2007)’.

All of this information has been made available on our http://www.outcomesforchildren.org website within a data catalogue and through the Instant Atlas Mapping Tool and we are currently taking forward a training programme to commissioners, planners and locality groups on the benefits of the tool so they can utilise the intelligence the Project provides,” he says.

Future developments

Stephen says there are also plans to add further data sets to the website so that reports can be tailored more specifically to user need. The Project also wants to take the analysis to lower geographical levels and Stephen is currently working on developing the information to ward level in Northern Ireland and ED level in the Republic of Ireland. Not only does this allow for more localised monitoring of outcomes for children and young people but also benefits the local voluntary and community groups by providing relevant information when making funding applications.

Key benefits

  • Support from the InstantAtlas team has been “great
  • CAWT Outcomes for Children project will be able to provide varying levels of data presentation
  • User feedback has been very positive
  • InstantAtlas is helping the Project to provide a web based information system to measure how children’s lives are improving across the CAWT region.

Other stories that will interest you

CHIMAT Child and Maternal Health Observatory, UK

Fingal County Council - ROI - How Fingal County Council is using data presentation to evidence strategic planning

Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) - Using data presentation to get detailed insight on health and social inequalities to a wide range of users

All-Island Regional Research Observatory (AIRO) - ROI - Giving public sector researchers the intelligence they need to inform better planning





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