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?
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.
Our work on the Justice Data Lab
This document responds to some of the common criticisms or concerns about the Justice Data Lab.
Speech presented by David Pritchard, then Head of Measurement and Evaluation at NPC, at the joint NPC and Clinks event Justice Data Lab: One year on held at the Royal Statistical Society on 12 June 2014.
The increasing concern about how the public's data can and should be used is often difficult to balance with the potential benefits. Taking our Data Labs project as an example, Katie Boswell argues that, while we have a duty to ensure it is used responsibly, concerns about privacy shouldn't put us off data altogether.
We are avid supporters of the Ministry of Justice's Justice Data Lab. The latest report, published today, marks another significant step forward in its development, through a new link to a data set that will help charities working with the most complex offenders to use the service. The report on re-offending rates for the Langley House Trust is the first to use OASys data to calculate a more accurate comparison group, and shows statistically significant reductions in re-offending.
December 2012 saw the ‘popping of metaphorical champagne corks’ at NPC’s offices: our call for access to government datasets on reoffending was coming to life. Over a year since the launch of the Ministry of Justice’s Justice Data Lab, now feels like a good time to reflect.
James Noble, our Impact Management Lead, wishes the Justice Data Lab a happy fifth birthday and sets out some of the amazing impact it has achieved in that time.
Our work on Health, Education and Employment Data Labs
Based on the precedent of the Justice Data Lab, we argue that relevant government departments should adopt a data labs model to enable charities to better understand the impact of their services on people's health. This would allow the whole health sector learn what works, and would help to build more effective and efficient services.
Freeing-up education analysis: Using government data to help improve educational outcomes for young people
Opening up government data to help improve educational outcomes for young people—making the case for the development of an Education Impact Data Lab (EIDL) to measure impact, based on the precedent of the Justice Data Lab.
NPC and 24 leading charities have written to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, asking for his backing and for a Health Data Lab. Read more about what this means and why it would help improve the impact of services on people’s health.
We think an Education Impact Data Lab (EIDL) is an irresistible proposition—using an established approach to understand what works in education. Following the publication of our case for this service, here we outline the benefits for charities, schools, government and students.