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The University of Southampton
Public Policy|Southampton

Parental social licence for operational data linkage and analytics to identify families for service intervention SHORTER: Parental social licence for data linkage for service intervention

Your data: how information about familiescan be used by governments

Project Team

Rosalind Edwards, Professor of Sociology, University of Southampton

Professor Val Gillies, University of Westminster

Dr Sarah Gorin, previously University of Southampton now University of Warwick

Dr. Hélène Vannier Ducasse, previously University of Southampton now independent scholar

Project Title

FULL: Parental social licence for operational data linkage and analytics to identify families for service intervention SHORTER: Parental social licence for data linkage for service intervention

Overview of Project

National and local government departments and services collect and hold information about families, such as taxation, medical records, pupil data, police records. These different data sources can be linked together and algorithms applied to identify individual families for service intervention. Data linkage and analysis may be carried out in-house or outsourced to private data analytic companies. Data linkage and analytics offer the promise of more efficient public services based on predictive risk modelling to pre-empt problems, but difficult issues have been raised about data security, consent, deterring parents from using services, and the extent of public acceptance and trust – known as social licence. This study fills a vital gap in knowledge about the dynamics of social licence and trust for operational data linkage and analytics among parents of dependent children, in a context where policy developments, and data linkage and analytics practices to inform services interventions is moving ahead of public knowledge and consent. The research provides a comprehensive, dynamic and multifaceted understanding of parental social licence for and trust in operational data linkage and analytics that can inform public understanding, policy development, and practices in the field of family intervention. Specifically, the research has: - identified rationales for data linkage and analytics, predictive risk modelling, and family intervention in government and data analytic companies reports; - surveyed the consensus among parents about what is acceptable or unacceptable in relation to data linkage and analytics as a basis for risk modelling and intervention in family lives; - examined how different social groups of parents articulate and negotiate their perspectives on operational data linkage and analytics, predictive risk modelling, and potential benefits or harms; and - explored the experiences of parents who are engaging with family service interventions on the data held about them.

The project is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) under grant number ES/T001623/1.

Anticipated Policy Impacts of Project

The research has sought to inform public understanding, policy development, and practices in the field of data linkage and predictive analytics for family intervention through: - an animated video designed to inform parents about how data on them and their children is collected, shared and used by local and national government services identify families for intervention; - submission of policy briefings and evidence submissions to government enquiries and consultations; and - publication of articles in peer reviewed journals to underpin the rigour of the findings.

Outputs of Project

All project resources and outputs - animated video, papers, book chapters, evidence submissions, blogs and presentations can be found on the project website.

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