In partnership with a number of government departments, NPC is setting up four data labs, one of which focuses on education data and another on employment and benefits data. The aim is to increase access to restricted government data, allowing organisations to obtain evidence of how effective their programmes designed to upskill and move people into work are. Due to the sensitivity of the data involved, the data lab asks organisations to submit data on those who have participated in their programmes and matches this with the government datasets.
The employment lab will use data from DWP and HMRC, who will themselves match the data they hold to that submitted by individual organisations using information such as name, address and date of birth. The education data lab will use the National Pupil Database processed by the Fisher Family Trust. NPC’s role is mainly around establishing relationships between Government and organisations, letting organisations know this service is available and setting out how it can be used.
Organisations submitting their data will then receive a report that uses government data on earnings, benefit claimants, education and training participation and attendance to produce LMI illustrating the impact of an organisation’s intervention. This is done through analysis of the proportion of people their programmes have moved into work or study, the current duration of this employment or training, attendance record and whether or not a qualification was achieved at the end of this training. They will also be given information of the proportion of past participants who are currently unemployed and the duration of this unemployment. Both data labs will additionally compare the outcomes of any interventions with a comparison group who have not undergone any interventions. It is envisioned that these reports and their key findings will also be freely available online, helping to improve broader understanding about which interventions are most effective and allowing the LMI produced to aid in the design of future policies aiming to move people into work and increase educational attainment.
While these two labs are still in development, with those involved finalising the terms for a pilot study, DWP announced its commitment to the project in March 2015. A similar data lab looking at crime and reoffending has already been established with the Ministry of Justice and has been used by organisations and charities to determine the longer term outcomes of their interventions, which programmes work well and so which to focus resources on. The education and employment labs would work in a similar way, using LMI to show the different impacts of a range of projects.