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Adopting a unified, data driven approach across the North of England

When Boris Johnson unveiled government’s roadmap for lifting lockdown restrictions in England he stressed that decisions would be governed by “data not dates”.

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, access to data has been vital in responding to the global crisis, and it’s guided all the work delivered by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and the North East COVID-19 Economic Response Group.

From publishing intelligence reports on the economic impact of COVID-19 using data from the Office for National Statistics, to reviewing shopping trends and transport use during the pandemic using Google mobility data; access to accurate and timely intelligence has been essential in supporting North East businesses through this hugely challenging time.

Because of the North East LEP’s strengths in evidence-based delivery, we’ve been asked on behalf of the NP11 – the business-led voice for the North that brings together the 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) from across the North of England – to help shape a new data and evidence programme focused on the use of economic evidence, research and data across the North.

We’re currently in the process of appointing a qualified contractor to work in partnership with us to review what economic performance data already exists and identify where there may be gaps or duplication.

We also want to understand what some of the most common research needs are from our partners across the North, including the NP11 LEPs, Transport for the North, and the wider LEP Network.

Using that insight, we plan to develop a list of key research and evidence projects that can be delivered across the North to help stimulate economic recovery, enhance productivity and stimulate sustainable growth.

This new collaborative approach to data and evidence would build on the existing partnership working across the NP11 and further strengthen the North’s role in national policy decisions. It would also allow organisations in the North to combine resources, and complement and leverage knowledge, evidence and research capacity.

More details about the project and the current procurement opportunity can be found here.

If anyone would like a further discussion about the project, please feel free to email me via [email protected].

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North East Local Enterprise Partnership reaction to ONS regional labour market statistics

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership’s (North East LEP) Strategy and Policy Director, Richard Baker, has commented on today’s regional labour market statistics, released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

“As we mark the anniversary of the first lockdown, today’s data release is a timely reminder of the changes which COVID-19 has meant for our labour market. It provides the latest official data which includes regional employment information for the three months up to and including January 2021 and also annual comparisons.

“In the most recent months, the headline data has been stable. The employment rate in the North East region, which includes the North East and Tees Valley LEP areas, remains the lowest in England at 71.3 per cent, 0.1 percentage points higher than in the last quarter but 0.4 percentage points down on a year ago.

“The region has the second highest unemployment rate (6.2 per cent of the economically active) and the highest proportion of working age people who are economically inactive (23.8 per cent). Almost 30,000 workers in the region have been made redundant during the past year.

“However, some of the recent impact of COVID-19 has been masked by an increase in the use of furlough in the region. Over 114,000 North East employments were furloughed at the end of January, more than double the total of three months earlier. Most furloughed workers continue to be classified as employed in the official statistics.

“The impact on different groups in our population has been different. Younger people have experienced particular challenges both in employment and training and there have also been different patterns in the impact for men and women in the past year. The number of unemployed women has increased by 14 per cent, while male unemployment is lower (by about 8 per cent). Almost 52 per cent of furloughed workers in the North East at the end of January were female.

“The progress we are seeing towards the lifting of lockdown restrictions offers hope for the thousands of businesses unable to trade. Support for these businesses remaining under restrictions needs to continue.

“The North East LEP will continue to work with government as we look to drive forward our economy and address some of the key challenges which COVID-19 has created in our region.”

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Bringing data and design together to improve public outcomes at DataJam North East

The North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is collaborating with a number of regional organisations to host the DataJam North East event in Newcastle on 17th and 18th September 2018.

The event is being jointly organised by Newcastle University, LEP, DWP Digital, Newcastle City Council and Northumberland County Council and public sector reform movement, One Team Gov.

DataJam North East will bring together data, digital and service design teams to make a real difference to real issues affecting the North East.

DWP Digital’s Celine McLoughlin explains more about the event.

Can you tell us a bit about DataJam North East and what the aims of the event are?

DataJam North East aims to look at issues affecting the region through the lens of data and service design, to see what answers to real problems we can come up with.

I live and work in the region and believe that collaborating to bring data and service design closer together is really important to achieve better outcomes – and that’s at the heart of what this event is all about.

Data in the form of qualitative user research, business analysis and performance analysis is now central to how product teams in government are designing and prioritising their feature development but data science, for the most part, is still seen as something a little separate and complex.

By making data an integral part of product development it will help us to make better decisions about the design and implementation of our products for citizens.

The only way we can tackle these truly important issues is do it together. That’s why DataJam North East is a true collaboration of people and organisations from across the region.

What is the format of the event?

At DataJam we’ll have product teams working on three key themes of Health, Skills, and Child Attainment – all big issues in our region. We will also have innovation areas for participants to access open data from the Urban Observatory based at Newcastle University to understand what it’s possible to learn from data exploration.

Alongside all of this there will be a mix of unconference sessions and breakout sessions offering practical data and design ideas and stalls to visit.

For each of the three critical areas we want to come away from the two days with tangible outcomes that all of the participants can sign up to taking forward. We want this to be the start of a new way of integrating data and design, the start of more collaborative sharing of data, and the start of a new wave of collaboration across the North East.

Who should attend DataJam North East?

We’re looking for people who can use their skills and enthusiasm to make a difference, so if you’re a data scientist, data analyst, delivery manager, product manager, user researcher or business analyst working in the North East, we’d love you to join us.

How can people get involved?

If you want to attend, you can apply here.