Data Labs

Our Data Labs project aims to open up government administrative data to the social sector. That way, charities, funders, government bodies and social enterprises can better understand the impact of their services on beneficiaries.

How does it work?

Charities, funders, social enterprises, public sector interventions all need to understand the impact of their work. Doing so means they can maximise the good they do, and minimise any harm.

But often, they have no way to know the long-term impact they have on people’s lives—whether their work changed the course of a person’s life in the long term.

Our Data Lab project is designed to do just that. By comparing the journeys of their beneficiaries to the journeys of those who are similar to them, a Data Lab can help organisations answer the question: did we make a difference? Recently, we have been focusing on establishing a Data Lab on employment. Learn more in our latest blog on Data Labs here.



Read our latest update below:


Download this paper

Data Labs – Update from NPC – August 2019

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Following the success of our work initiating the  Justice Data Lab, we are now supporting the development of further Data Labs. We’re also working to increase the demand for data for impact measurement.

Our short guide sets out the key things we have learnt. This is a great tool to help you create your own data labs to provide a high quality, statistically robust evaluation service.

Find out more about our work on Data Labs in health, employment and education below.

Justice Data Lab

The Justice Data Lab is a pioneering and award winning service run by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and gives organisations working with offenders access to re-offending data.

The information provided helps organisations to assess the impact of their work on reducing re-offending and also helps develop an understanding of effective rehabilitation.

The Justice Data Lab was launched as a pilot in 2013, and confirmed as a permanent service in 2015.

Read a summary of the findings from Middlesex University’s external review of the Justice Data Lab review.

Download a short summary of how the Justice Data Lab works.

Read our FAQ Update for responses to common questions about this work.

Lady Justice

Our work on the Justice Data Lab

Health Data Lab

We believe there is a strong case for a Health Data Lab with support from the Department for Health. This service would improve access to NHS data for charities and other organisations who want to better understand the effect of their work on people’s health.

We supported NHS Digital (formerly HSCIC) to write a business case for a health analytical service/data lab, which would measure impact on secondary care: A&E, admissions, readmissions, lengths of stay and costs.

To date this business case has not been taken forward.

You can read more about our arguments for a health data lab here

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Education Data Lab

We are advocating for an analytical service in education.

We have consulted with the education sector and key stakeholders to develop the case for an Education Impact Data Lab (EIDL) service.

Since we launched this campaign, the Department for Education asked that the Education Endowment Foundation tests the concept of an Education Data Service. This was commissioned to the Fischer Family Trust and we are currently waiting for progress on this.

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Employment Data Lab

We supported the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to develop its analytical service that supports organisations to measure the impact of services on helping people to achieve employment outcomes. This was launched in November 2022. And read out blog in Civil Service World celebrating this here.

We are currently looking for organisations to who might want to use the Employment Data Lab. Get in touch if you’d like to be involved.

Contact Sarah Sandford to get involved
employment handsake

Our work on Health, Education and Employment Data Labs

NHS England logo

NHS England

The potential of Open Data in health and social care.

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Smarter health, smarter state

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Education Endowment Foundation logo

Education Endowment Foundation

Education data service pilot