D: Best use of public data 

Winner – Manchester City Council – Integrated Data and Network Analysis


In 2011, Manchester City Council like all other local authorities was tasked by the National Troubled Families Unit with identifying families that met the criteria for the Troubled Families Programme.

The national criteria consisted of three headline measures around youth crime / anti-social behaviour; poor school attendance; and worklessness. This is also supported by a fourth local discretion criterion which allows local authorities to include a basket of indicators that represent local priorities.

Manchester City Council realised that the troubled families programme would only be successful and sustainable if the local implementation responded to changing demand and a broader range of measures that the core national measures. Therefore, Manchester City Council worked with a range of partners who deliver local services to develop data sharing processes and agreements to access data.

This rich data pool presented a major ‘big data’ opportunity, as well as an analysis and technology challenge. Manchester City Council worked in partnership with the IBM to implement a bespoke version of their iBase software.

The iBase solution is a SQL database containing some 2.5 million records, connected by 3.5 million links, and allows for complex network analysis between people, locations, incidents and programmes/interventions.


This forward-thinking approach to what could have been a simple data matching exercise across a small number of core national criteria, gave Manchester maximum flexibility.

As the national programme moves from troubled to complex dependency, Manchester are able to lead a discussion around how evidence should inform programmes


Photo credit: Global One