Key findings - working with partners
An Office of Data Analytics, by its nature, relies on a number of people from different organisations, working together to deliver insight.
A shared vision and objectives developed collectively by key partners will help, but it is also important that all partners agree how they are going to work together in order to deliver a truly collaborative approach. Collaborating with data to create a more complete picture of an issue across a city or region does not interfere with each organisation’s priorities. Rather, it can help in overcoming siloed information, contribute to making insights as complete as possible, and eventually help change working practices through increased efficiency and more targeted and coordinated delivery of services.
Such collaboration needs to be supported by a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), signed by all participating organisations to confirm their commitment to the ODA. The MoU will outline each organisation’s roles and responsibilities, their point of contact, the resources they will assign and how they will participate and communicate within the project. Having this agreed upfront will help to manage partner expectations and provide the basis for any conflict resolution further down the line.
The governance arrangements will determine the level of influence and involvement each partner will have. These will vary across different ODAs, with some adopting horizontal structures, in which partners have an equal stake in each project, while others are based on tiered funding and ownership.
The Suffolk Office of Data Analytics (SODA) Programme Management Group (PMG) is made up of all the line managers of analysts from partner organisations, meaning that all have an equal opportunity to contribute. The PMG has the role of facilitating the joining up of resources and acts as a facilitator to remove barriers to data sharing.
It’s important to recognise that the level of involvement from each partner will vary, with key differences between those involved in the governance and funding of the ODA, and those involved in more informal roles, such as providing data for individual projects. In some cases, it may be that other groups are involved from outside the ODA governance process, such as information governance leads or analysts who wish to share in the ODA’s learnings.
The Greater Manchester Analyst Network is a good example of representatives from a range of services coming together to deliver on ODA objectives. The network includes analyst representatives from universities, charities and public sector organisations in the region. It meets regularly, has a Twitter account to publicly share information, shares job opportunities within (and beyond) the group and showcases ideas and projects that each are working on at regular network events.