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Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

The Office for Data Analytics is a virtual hub facilitated through a cloud-based platform and is supported by a physical hub of key staff fully dedicated to the ODA. Although Avon and Somerset Constabulary is the lead/host organisation, the ODA engages a number of staff and contractors with a wide range of expertise outside policing.

Contact: Lee Howell, Senior Responsible Officer / Programme Director

Key partners include emergency services, local authorities, public health organisations and other partners across England and Wales. While the ODA originates in the South West, it is also working in London and Wales, as it has developed a cloud-based platform from which partners can access analytics and insight from anywhere.

Origins and funding

The ODA was created as a result of learning from the Constabulary’s work developing data analytics. This was extended to the partnership space following the recognition that focusing on early intervention can release pressure on other services, and therefore, policing demand and activity are strongly related to other partner’s efforts.

A police transformation funding bid was submitted by Avon and Somerset on behalf of a wide range of partners in 2017. A number of partners, including local authorities, police and fire services, have already confirmed funding for 2019 onwards to support the work of the ODA and a sustainable model has therefore been created.

Vision and objectives

Led by Avon and Somerset Constabulary, this is one of the most advanced ODAs seen so far and prioritises identifying and protecting vulnerable people at the earliest opportunity.

The ODA is driving public sector reform by developing an integrated hub for the collation and sharing of data from national data sources, police, ambulance and public health, fire and rescue, local authorities and third sector partners. It aims to become a world leading Office of Data Analytics, innovative in outlook and lean, agile and data-driven in their approach.

It is applying a partnership approach, using data science, predictive analytics and data visualisation to deliver insights that help strategic and tactical leaders improve outcomes for citizens while also reducing costs.

Also, as a condition of the transformation fund bid, the ODA is developing blueprints for data sharing protocols, data transfers, predictive modelling, visualisation, self-service analytical products and early intervention approaches. One of the examples of this in practice is the establishment of the National Analytics Forum, supported by the Home Office at director level, hosting representatives from other ODAs to share learning, good practice and recent developments.


The sponsoring body is the Avon and Somerset Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and the monthly board meeting is chaired by the Chief Constable.

The Senior Responsible Owner reports to the Board and also to the Home Office through quarterly returns.

Engagement with other key partnerships, including the South West Emergency Service Forum and Somerset Chief Executives Meeting informs the work of the ODA.

Key partners are emergency services, local authorities (county/unitary and district), Public Health England and Highways England; however, the ODA is currently working with data from 66 different organisations to a greater or lesser degree (from initial data requests to fully-engaged partners).

Team structure

The team includes the SRO, a programme director, a programme manager, a data protection officer, a communication officer, two business analysts, two business developers, one data scientist, one ICT support officer and one administrative assistant.

The programme also includes a range of secondees, contractors and commercial contractual arrangements which are focused on delivering high quality outcomes.

BAE systems are providing significant input and capacity to the programme and Accenture and the Behavioural Insights Team are also supporting the ODA work.

Working practices

Information Sharing: Working to ICO guidelines and an ICO signposted good practice DPIA.
Data Sharing: Flat file transfer moving to automated links via cloud.
Data Storage: Cloud-hosted platform. Some ‘on premise’.
Languages used: R, Python
Data visualisation tools and statistical programs: Tableau, PowerBI, Qlik Sense, IBM, SPSS
Additional technologies: ArcGIS

Penetration testing undertaken on their storage to ensure data can’t be compromised
Dedicated data protection officer
Information Commissioner’s Office engaged in their work

Data projects

A wide range of analytic solutions have been, and are being developed, all having a partnership and early intervention focus.

Together with discrete pieces of work being commissioned by partners ad hoc, Qlik apps developed and under development include:

  • Road Safety - Informed prevention, protection and engineering effort by partners working better together using a complete picture of risk and supporting early action. Data science assists in predicting where, when and who is likely to be involved in accidents
  • Serious Youth Violence (Youth Offending) - A solution that applies both data science to identify predictive risk scores, as well as data visualisation to identify trends and networks of influence to inform local intervention programmes in the most cost-effective manner. This has been developed in a London Borough, but has national application with local data submitted to the ODA cloud platform and then viewed locally
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences - Work to visualise key components that inform ACE. This is also being used to inform some work on missing children
  • Community Risk Index (Vulnerability Index) - A GIS based model has been developed to show where people are dying (across the South West Region). It embeds a vulnerability index informed by Public Health England data. The model also allows a more limited national view
  • Missing People - Predicts who is most likely to go missing from specific locations and when this is likely to occur
  • Troubled Families - A solution that outlines an approach to inform troubled family approaches (early intervention) for local authorities has been produced and is available for partners to use
  • Predicting Pleas - Work undertaken to forecast the likelihood of guilty/not guilty pleas, and areas of improvement in data capture and processing identified
  • Reducing international criminality - A law-enforcement-only solution that brings national and local data together to inform early intervention action, reducing risk, harm and vulnerability
  • Reducing suicide - A data science and visualisation analytics solution has been developed that identifies where suicide events occur, but also where those who are most likely to die through suicide live. The latter allows prevention effort to be targeted
  • Arson - Tool to predict what type of building is most at risk of being subject to arson attacks. It provides information on when and where, to inform early effort to develop. Other data is incorporated to inform subsequent investigation
  • Reducing Serious Organised Crime - An analytics solution that aims to bring local authority and police data together to inform early effort, reducing the likelihood of people becoming part of serious organised crime

Work plans for the future

A future operating model has been developed, and a work plan is being developed, to be ready in April 2019. This will be informed by the capacity provided by funding partners.

The cloud-based platform and analytics solutions will continue to be available and informed as additional partners come on board. Benefits will continue to be tracked.


Michelle Eaton

Michelle Eaton

Michelle Eaton

Programme Manager

Michelle worked in the Government Innovation team on how the smarter use of data and technology can help civil society and public sector organisations deliver services, better.

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Camilla Bertoncin

Camilla Bertoncin

Camilla Bertoncin

Project Manager and Researcher

Camilla was a Project Manager and Researcher working in the Explorations team on the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design.

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