Best Use of Data: Essex County Council

Multi-agency geo-mapping of gangs and child exploitation


The entry shows the power of joint insight. Using existing data, in a joined up way across organisations, rather than silos to develop a local view of what is happening in an area and displaying it in a simple, engaging, interactive and dynamic way makes a real difference to how people perceive what is going on and identify what actions need to be taken by whom.

There has been a shift in the delivery of data and information regarding threats and vulnerability in relation to Child Exploitation to a more visual and dynamic way of presenting. We can now map out the information provided from a number of organisations into District / Ward / Street level and can overlay information on these maps so we can either pin point specific queries; for example, which locations within a town/city are actual risk locations (hotspots), or we can look at wider themes or questions; for example, what are our vulnerable locations around our hotspots? This information is now been used to drive actions and interventions by partnership organisations during monthly MACE (missing and child exploitation) meetings. Multi-agency organisation includes Childrens social care, education, youth service, children’s society, ESCB, community safety partnership leads, CRC, probation and police.


The children’s intelligence & insight team have worked with Essex police analysts to develop a new offer to drive timely decision making at MACE partnership meetings. Instead of continuing to produce a monthly performance report from each organisation (which was resulting in the wrong types of conversations). ECC lead the development of a dynamic & interactive way of presenting insight. This has resulting in the following successes:

  • Identification of vulnerable locations. The dynamic maps reflects where schools, care home, semi-independent accommodation, B&Bs, Hotels etc. locations are. We can map out our transport networks, bus stations, etc. and through this over time understand better how such facilities may play a role in increasing vulnerability and/or risk.
  • Targeting disruption and enforcement activities. It seeks to deliver information regarding disruption and enforcement; for example, it will detail the location of child abduction warning notices and closure notices.
  • Evaluating proactive work carried out by the partnership. The mapping facility seeks to answer queries as well as pose questions to the group of core members that attend MACE 2, who are predominantly strategic leads across the partnership. It seeks to identify areas for early prevention activities and raising awareness

An important element towards its success is buy in from across the partnership as it relies on comprehensive data and intelligence being fed in and then regularly reviewed/sense checked within the meeting. Through this process we can then deliver a product which can be adapted to be shared with frontline workers and managers to use in team meetings, development sessions, BAPs, local district tasking meetings etc.

Through the delivery of this information to the multi-agency workforce we seek to directly impact on decision-making and planning for families across Essex as this better equips us to recognise areas of risk when making decisions and working with families around safeguarding and care planning.

What should LARIA members learn from your project?

To improve partnership working and speedy decision making the most simplistic of ideas are always the most effective. Using what we already know differently gives us better results than going it alone and helps us all understand an issue and local area better in order to intervene in the a better and most cost effective way for an improved outcomes for some of the most vulnerable children in society.