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Establishing a Cross Government Approach to Vulnerability

by Shelley Heckman, Published 22 December 2023
Here at (Scalable Approach to Vulnerability via Interoperability) we are excited to inform you that that the (which is led by the) has been inspired by our project and we are now working closely with them as part of a new cross-government working group to look into the challenges around public sector data interoperability that impede the identification and provision of support and services to vulnerable households and develop common solutions to address them.
The need for a working group
This cross-government vulnerabilities working group was primarily formed to look into the problems around public sector data interoperability that impede the identification and provision of support and services to vulnerable people and households and develop common solutions to address them.
There are many different types and definitions of vulnerabilities, such as: homelessness, school readiness, and fuel poverty. Different public sector organisations have responsibilities for supporting or providing services to people and households who suffer from particular vulnerabilities; such organisations are often reliant on data held by other parts of the public sector to be able to do so. Data sharing enabled by greater data interoperability can support early intervention, smarter interventions, referrals and multi agency cooperation which can save time, money and effort.
Public sector organisations have been looking into data problems from their particular policy interests. has taken a broader view, with funding from DLUHC, to establish the Scalable Approach to Vulnerability via Interoperability () project. SAVVI looks at common challenges of data sharing and interoperability, particularly joining local government initiatives to the wider public sector. SAVVI has proposed a set of data standards to underpin a common process designed to fit any vulnerability initiative. This working group is an opportunity for Government departments to work in partnership with the SAVVI project and other key initiatives to look at the problem and to develop and drive adoption of cross-government solutions.
The aims of the working group
An aim for the working group is to bring together experts from key central government departments, local government, the wider public sector and other sectors to:
Explore and agree a problem statement
Agree upon one or more vulnerability themes to illustrate options for cross-government solutions including the viability of a scalable approach for multiple vulnerabilities
Develop common solutions and agreed artefacts and consult upon them to secure endorsement from the Data Standards Authority.
At the outset, it is envisaged that the working group could deliver a number of deliverables such as: comprehensive definitions of vulnerabilities, conceptual and logical data models across vulnerability types, data Standards for attributes including indicators of vulnerability types, an understanding of the Information Governance Requirements to assure legal, ethical, transparent data reuse and Implementation Guidance.
The progress so far
The kick-off meeting of the Cross-Government Working Group on a scalable approach to data sharing and standards relating to Vulnerabilities was held on 20 July 2023. At it, the terms of reference for the group were shared and agreed, and the problem statement was re-iterated and discussed.

The group, via a facilitated jam-board session, then explored three example use cases: civil contingencies/Flooding, homelessness prevention & financial hardship. The use cases helped to highlight that the same need for data was required across different vulnerability types. This exercise led to a discussion on the opportunities for collaboration regarding interoperability issues, and a consideration of the blocks and barriers.

Find out more & Get Involved
The cross-government working group is open to all Government departments, and we welcome interest from Departments that are not currently engaged. To find out more about this work, please contact the Data Standards Authority.
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