Experian offers Covid tool to help public sector response

coronavirus11Experian is joining the fight against Covid-19 with a new dashboard, designed to assist public organisations in plannng their response to the pandemic with more accuracy, helping to ensure the people who are most in need in the community can receive the support they require as quickly as possible.

Dubbed Experian Safeguard, the system is being provided free of charge to local authorities, NHS trusts, fire services, and major charities. Over 50 organisations have already signed up, including The Trussell Trust and The National Emergencies Trust.

The tool has been built by combining datasets Experian holds with open source data, including Census data. This information has then been aggregated and imported into the dashboard to provide a new perspective in an easily understandable form to those on the frontline of dealing with the Covid crisis.

Experian Safeguard’s key variables include those aged over 71; people who are aged over 65 and live alone; single parents with children aged up 17; households that have disposable income of less than £250 per month; households that spend 10% or more of income on fuel costs; and households that have Internet speeds below 24MB.

The interactive mapping tool enables users to choose the relevant indicators required for the specific situation; view output areas and local authorities and their index against a selection of predefined indicators; quickly identify output areas that may require the most support.

It is claimed that the variables can help organisations to plan and prioritise services; correctly allocate funding; deploy specialist and volunteer resources; create communication strategies to engage local communities; and to estimate future demand and requirements for services in certain areas.

West Somerset, Christchurch and North Norfolk have already been identified as having a high number of pensioners living alone, which could also be considered a potential indicator of vulnerability.

Organisations have used the insight to communicate more targeted public health messages and inform households about support services available in their area if they have been affected by the pandemic.

Searches can be carried out at a local authority level and are then divided into smaller areas, providing a rich, granular level of insight on which local authorities and other service providers can base their decisions.

The Trussell Trust has used Experian Safeguard to identify areas which have a high propensity of potentially vulnerable households, helping the charity to allocate additional resources in those areas and ensuring that volunteers have the support they need to continue to offering services to the people that need it most.

Dr Dave Massey, head of strategic intelligence at The Trussell Trust, said: “During this unprecedented time, the work done by food banks has never been more important. More people than ever are expected to need to use a food bank in the coming weeks and months as the pandemic unfolds. Thanks to Experian Safeguard and its insights, we’ve been able to assist our volunteers working in vulnerable areas, supporting their work with additional resources at this critical time, as well as identifying new communities which could potentially need help too.”

Meanwhile, The National Emergencies Trust, an independent charity set up last year to collaborate with charities and other bodies to raise and distribute funds at a time national crisis and disaster, has also used the dashboard.

Since the pandemic began, the trust has already received more than £80m in pledges and distributed more than £32m to charities and local organisations supporting communities most affected by the outbreak.

The trust’s chief executive, John Herriman, said: “It’s vital that during this crisis, we are getting support to exactly where it’s needed, fast, and strong data is at the heart of that. It helps us to understand the changing shape and scale of communities’ needs, and informs how we allocate and distribute funds, ensuring we get funds to people at their time of greatest need.

“Thanks to the generosity of corporate donors, major charitable trusts, and individuals, we have already been able to distribute more than £32m and support more than 5,000 grassroots groups who are playing a vital role on the frontline of supporting their local communities.”

Experian Marketing Services managing director Colin Grieves said: “We are delighted to be able to use our data analysis expertise to help the most vulnerable in our society. The challenges we are facing during this crisis are new and varied, and we hope any help we can provide to those on the frontline by identifying those most in need will make a positive contribution during these unprecedented times.

“We have worked closely with local authorities and other public organisations for many years, but the Covid-19 crisis has called for a new service so we can better understand where people are most likely to need help. We are glad that more than 50 organisations are using Experian Safeguard to plan and prioritise their services and allocating their resources by using the insights from the tool.”

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