Plugging Recruitment Gaps

Many Local Authorities are telling us of their current difficulties in recruiting appropriately skilled people for their Data and Performance Teams. Whatever the causes of this mismatch in supply and demand, the impacts are clear.

The modern Performance Team requires a basket of both technical and interpersonal skills, and if any of those is absent, control and understanding within the Services they support can only suffer.

KEY Intelligence was recently called in to help a County Council to ‘overhaul’ its reporting. While we presumed that this would be another case of reporting suites having been built and added to over many years by people with different scripting styles and data definitions not keeping pace with process changes, what we found was more fundamental, and the need more acute.

The Council had severe staffing issues. With a lack of people to do the work, and clear skills and experience gaps, they simply could not stay on top of 'business as usual' reporting.

Short of the full technical skillset, the Team was unable to interrogate and repair broken reports in a timely manner or to build new and ad hoc reports on demand. Worse still, the internal team no longer had the time to take to fully understand changing workflows, processes and reporting needs, so a backlog was building.​​​​​​​

Recognising the true scale of the issues, the Team manager gave KEY Intelligence 250 days, the equivalent of one developer working alone for a year, to verify all current reports, correct any that were failing, write full documentation, and provide appropriate training to the current team in the hope of avoiding similar breakdowns in future.

With such an open but time-restricted brief, KI sought guidance from the Services as to priorities and areas of apparent greatest concern. From there, a prioritised task list was created, and two KI Analysts set about the challenge.

To be continued… 

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