DD2387 SafeStats crime and community safety data portal (Phase 2)

Type of decision: 
Director's decision
Code: 
DD2387
Date signed: 
05 September 2019
Decision by: 
Emma Strain, Interim Executive Director of Communities & Intelligence

Executive summary

This DD requests approval expenditure of £93,000 in 2019-20 to continue providing the City Intelligence Unit SafeStats crime data service, and to deliver the Phase 2 analytical tools required as part of the third year of the three-year redevelopment of the wider system approved by the Mayor under cover of MD2181. This will take total expenditure on the redevelopment work to £469,000, with a net contribution from the GLA of £53,000.

SafeStats hosts a variety of crime and community safety datasets on a secure platform available to authorised analysts. A modernised system will provide improved capability to support the Mayor’s priorities around crime, public safety, and public health.

Funding for the project thus far has been via payments from the London Fire Commissioner, TfL and the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC). The additional funding comes from the continuation of the MOPAC Information Sharing to Tackle Violence (ISTV) project in 2019-20 with the provision of £40,000 (revenue) which the GLA will use as a contribution to its costs of continuing to process and deliver data, and £53,000 from GLA budgets to cover aspects of the system architecture which benefit other GLA products.

Decision

That the Executive Director of Communities & Intelligence approves:

1. the making by MOPAC of and the GLA’s receipt of a £40,000 revenue grant (under section 121 of the Greater London Authority Act 1999); and

2. expenditure of £93,000, at a net cost to the GLA of £53,000 in 2019/20 to:

i. continue collating and making available to authorised analysts, hospital A&E data as part of the Information Sharing to Tackle Violence project (£40,000); and

ii. complete the second phase of development work of the SafeStats rebuilding project, as well as complete the small amount of outstanding work remaining from phase 1 (£53,000).

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

SafeStats is a unique and secure data platform hosting a variety of crime and community safety datasets in one place and making these available to authorised analysts in the Greater London Authority (GLA) / Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC), boroughs and the Metropolitan Police. The web-based portal provides instant access to this data which together provide the most rounded available picture of crime hotspots in London, and a variety of tools to use for different strategic and operational analysis. SafeStats is often used nationally and internationally as a model for sharing crime data. An example is the collaboration with Professor Jonathan Shepherd who developed the ‘Cardiff model’ showing how sharing anonymised hospital emergency department assault data between public agencies could reduce crime.

SafeStats has been built up incrementally since 2001 when it was part of the Government Office for London and has been managed and hosted by the GLA City Intelligence Unit since 2006. The London Fire Commissioner and Transport for London agreed in 2008 to pay contributions annually toward the costs of their data to be processed and hosted on the system. Such processing and hosting is governed by data sharing agreements entered into between the GLA and the London Fire Commissioner and Transport for London in 2008. The receipt and use by the GLA of such payments towards the rebuilding of Safestats and improving the service in the 2017/18 to 2019/20 financial years was approved by the Mayor under cover of MD2181.

In addition, SafeStats has been an integral part of the Home Office funded ‘Information Sharing to Tackle Violence’ project managed by MOPAC, to bring together and provide access to data on violent incidents reported to London’s 29 hospital A&E departments. Funding from MOPAC will be used to cover the processing, harmonisation and hosting of suppliers’ data and make this available securely to a large range of authorised users. These data are governed by NHS Digital data standard ISB1594.

Progress thus far in the redevelopment has been on track as per the project plan approved by the Mayor under cover of MD2181 in 2017 (and included in section 7 below). The first phase of the system rebuild is in beta-testing and should go live to users across London in autumn 2019.

The GLA contribution of £53,000 reflects wider interest in some of the IT architecture of the new system and developments that benefit other aspects of the GLA. This includes automated two-way data transfer with the existing London Datastore of publicly accessible versions of SafeStats’ crime and community safety datasets and existing public demographic and socio-economic datasets. This contribution will also allow SafeStats’ data transfer functionality to continue to align with that of the London Datastore as it moves towards version 3.0 over the next 12 months.

Objectives and expected outcomes

Supporting the Mayor’s priorities around crime and public safety, health and the economy including keeping children and young people safe, tackling violence among women and girls, cracking down on knife crime, Thrive London: Improving mental health, Building a 24 hour London, and Regeneration: Improving London’s public spaces and High Streets.

Providing data support to the Mayors’ new public health approach to violent crime, in particularly the Violence Reduction Unit.

Providing near real-time access to crime data to support operational and tactical crime reduction as well as provide an expanded range of data for strategic analysis.

A reliable modern system/service to receive, store and process data – with data that can be updated frequently or even in real-time. It will provide a flexible range of secure interactive web and data tools catering for a broad range of analysts.

It will also provide data to users via secure feeds where necessary and provision of a reliable service. It will allow an increased range of users to benefit from the system, by allowing different levels of data access.

It will provide the ability to draw on GLA Technology standards to enable better technical support.

It will provide access to data that are not otherwise available to analysts and GLA Group members for example, ambulance service and hospital accident and emergency records.

Equality comments

The GLA must have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to the need to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not, under section 149 of the Equality Act 2010. This involves having due regard to the need to remove or minimise any disadvantage suffered by those who share a relevant protected characteristic that is connected to that characteristic, taking steps to meet the different needs of such people; and encouraging them to participate in public life or in any other activity where their participation is disproportionately low.

Safestats meets this public sector equality duty in two ways: advancing equality of opportunity and fostering good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not through analysis conducted using the data (see 3.3 below) and through robust data governance to prevent discrimination.

Analysis conducted using the data further the Mayor’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategic objective of a “safe, healthy and enjoyable city”. The driving force of analysis conducted by organisations accessing Safestats data is to improve the lives of Londoners, victims of crime, identifying the vulnerable, and assist in the enforcement of those who seek to harm.

The data provided to Safestats users does not include any protected characteristics or other personal data. Access to and use of the data is governed by Data Sharing Agreements which set out the legal basis governing and conditions for access and use of the data by authorised public sector organisations and individuals within these organisations and the system includes data security processes which log and audit use of the data accordingly.

Other considerations

Without continuation of this project over this period and the implementation of the additional functionality, it is unlikely that the increasing proportion of userbase from non-analytical backgrounds will be unable to source required outputs. This would mean that boroughs are less likely to use these data in their work as it will become much more difficult to source the data in the required format. Policy/borough strategies are consequently less likely to be informed by evidence.

Not continuing the project beyond this stage may result in a reputational risk to the GLA around its commitment to aspects of the Police and Crime Plan, such as the integration of the mapped data related to the Information Sharing to Tackle Violence project.

In not delivering the expected functionality within the project, there is a risk to discussions with user organisations related to the ongoing funding of the service.

Financial comments

Approval is sought for the receipt and expenditure of £93,000 comprising: £40,000 (revenue funding) from MOPAC; and £53,000 in GLA funding, for the continued provision of the SafeStats crime data service.

The £53,000 will be funded from the 2019-20 Demography and Policy Analysis Team’s budget within the City Intelligence Unit.

Activity table

Activity

Timeline

Internal rebuild of data processing system - complete

January-December 2018

Procurement of front-end user interface - complete

December 2018

Delivery of initial user interface for testing - complete

June 2019

Phase 1 interface goes live

September 2019

Procurement of Phase 2 analytical tools

December 2019

Delivery of Phase 2 analytical tools

March 2020


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