, standing for ‘a Scalable Approach to Vulnerability via Interoperability’, is a programme hosted by on behalf of the local public sector, and funded by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities’ (DLUHC) .
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted a need for local authorities to identify vulnerable people and households so that they can formulate a coordinated multi-agency response. The purpose of the SAVVI project is to define - and encourage the adoption of - sector-wide data standards that will help local councils, and their partners, to improve their processes to identify vulnerable people, and target appropriate support to those in greatest need.
We are building on the experiences of the pandemic to present data standards, data sharing, and information governance, within a , that can be applied to ‘find, assess, and support’ people and households over a wide range of vulnerabilities.
What do we mean by ‘Vulnerability’
At SAVVI, we define vulnerability as -
‘An Increased Risk of a Poor Outcome’.
So, SAVVI is about using data to find people who may be at risk, and intervening with useful services to avoid those poor outcomes.
We have looked at vulnerabilities such as;
The call these “Headline Outcomes”, with examples such as; children safe from abuse and exploitation
The Need for Early Identification of Vulnerabilities
We are finding that there are often fracture points and gaps between services, which people can fall through. This results in their needs not being recognised and responded to.
According to early findings from the inquiry into ‘’ by the House of Lords Public Service Committee, a lack of a joined-up national strategy on vulnerable children and their families is undermining the effectiveness of various departments’ policies on child vulnerability, leading to duplication and diminished effect as different departments work towards their own policy ends rather than a shared goal. The Inquiry finds this lack of integration at the national level is inhibiting the ability of services and agencies to address the overlapping needs of vulnerable children. The decision by successive governments not to prioritise early intervention has led to poorer outcomes for many children, increased pressures on statutory services and higher costs due to late intervention and a loss of tax revenue.
For some vulnerabilities, such as ‘school readiness’, no single organisation is responsible. For example, many children living in families where abuse, mental illness or addiction are present, are not on anyone’s radar. Consequently, access to services can be based on an over-assessment of eligibility rather than a deeper redress of needs.
How SAVVI Helps to Identify Vulnerability Early
We are working with councils, programmes, and industry, to look at a range of vulnerabilities, such as homelessness, loneliness, financial distress, re-offending, school-readiness and so on. Traditionally, these have been looked at in isolation and the solutions are not linked. SAVVI is proposing processes, standards, and data sharing, to be both ‘scalable’ across many vulnerability themes, and interoperable across products and participants. The aim is early identification, and smarter interventions and referrals.
To drive ‘early identification’, we have to bring together data from a number of data sources. Often, the separate computer systems across many agencies struggle to interchange and match up data. We are testing a set of data standards to represent predictive indicators in a consistent ‘vulnerability attribute’ form, linked to a common format to represent a person or household.
SAVVI is also focused on providing real-time dashboards and outcomes frameworks, and the data analytics that will improve successful identification and support.
Helping the sector navigate Information Governance to identify vulnerability
The Information Governance to support ‘early identification’ is often cited as a blocker, so that initiatives fail when data cannot be sourced. We have put together the where we set out the steps to legally and ethically share data, for secondary use. Where a legal gateway cannot be found to support a data share, the framework proposes escalations, such as via the .
We are currently creating the ‘SAVVI Catalog’, where we list the data sharing propositions that we find, themed within the vulnerabilities that we are exploring. We lay out the data items, where they are typically found, and the legal basis on which they are being shared. Of course it is still for data controllers to reach their own opinions on what data to share, but bringing all these propositions into one place has been welcomed by the councils that we have worked with, who otherwise tell us that they don’t know where to start with a data project. We’d like to go further and create a single information governance portal that means that every part of the system understands the rules and follows them appropriately.
Interoperating with other standards to direct vulnerable to support services
Once cohorts of vulnerable people/households have been found, we need to be able to refer them, or at least signpost, to local support services and activities. SAVVI is working with the standard to build high quality directories of local services that can be queried to find potential solutions to assessed needs and circumstances. Interoperability here is based on common terminologies so that directories and referral engines can join up, to become an ecosystem for front-line professionals and for self-service use.
What we are doing now
We are now in phase 3 of the project and in this phase the team are focusing on deploying SAVVI for real and making it self sustaining. Phase 3 consists of four interrelated workstreams of activity: Projects, Engagement Platforms, Adoption and Sustainability. You can find out more about each of the workstreams in the
Follow our work and learn more about SAVVI
All of our material and updates can be found at the and you can join our mailing list at
The SAVVI project has been presented numerous times at different events, boards and meetings. Take a look below at some of the recordings from these sessions to catch up on SAVVI.
SAVVI at Public Sector Insight Week
On 08th March 2022, Paul Davidson gave a presentation on the SAVVI Standards, the SAVVI Catalogue and SAVVI plans for 2022.
SAVVI Standards Deep Dive Video
On 10th December 2021, Paul Davidson gave a presentation on the SAVVI Standards, and how the data can find, assess and support vulnerable people.
The SAVVI Process: An Overview
On 4th November 2021, Paul Davidson gives an overview of the products, and two councils that have worked with SAVVI.
The SAVVI Pilots
On 4th November 2021, Tony Evans and Ruth Little shared an update on the SAVVI pilots with Huntingdonshire District Council and North Yorkshire County Council at the SAVVI Show and Tell Phase Two.
The SAVVI Products
On 4th November 2021, Paul Davidson spoke about the SAVVI Playbook, and goes into detail on the SAVVI Catalogue
Wider Engagement in the National Context
On 4th November 2021, Patrick Kiernan, Toby Hayward-Butcher, Viv Adams, Georgina Maratheftis and John Curtis shared their engagement into the SAVVI project from a national context at the SAVVI Show and Tell Phase Two.
What’s Next for SAVVI
On 4th November 2021, Paul Davidson and Mike Thacker shared what is next for SAVVI at the SAVVI Show and Tell Phase Two.
SAVVI Show and Tell Phase Two
On 4th November 2021, SAVVI held an end of Phase Two Show and Tell. This recording is the full video of the session.
SAVVI Data Sharing and Data Standard at DataConnect21
On 30th September 2021, Paul Davidson and Phil Swan presented the SAVVI project at DataConnect21.
The SAVVI Catalogue
On 18th September 2021, Paul Davidson discusses the prototype of the SAVVI Catalogue.
SAVVI Information Governance Framework for Vulnerability Data
On 2nd July 2021, Paul Davidson presented SAVVI Information Governance Framework for Vulnerability Data at the Northern WARP Conference.
SAVVI Project Show and Tell
On 16 April 2021 Paul Davidson presented a Show and Tell of the SAVVI project.
Scalable Approach to Vulnerability via Interoperability (SAVVI)
On 20 November 2020 Paul Davidson and Phil Swan presented the SAVVI project at the iNetwork Annual Conference, Journey to a Better Place: Transforming Public Service Delivery. This is a 40 minute presentation that explains the SAVVI project in further detail.
Local Digital Office (MHCLG) Takeover - Thursday 8th October 2020
On 22 October 2020 Paul Davidson presented the SAVVI project at the Local Digital Office (MHCLG) Takeover. This is a brief introduction into the project in it’s earlier stages.