Schools Out – An Insight into the Consequences of High Quality Data:

By Craig Mackie – Consultant.

Craig gives us an insight into what high data quality can mean in the public sector. 

Whilst our kids are at school their interests will be playing conkers, running around the playground kicking a football, or swapping their latest Pokémon cards. However, unfortunately for our children, there is a serious focus to why they are at school.

When the bell rings, it’s time to head back to the classroom for lessons and teaching time. In my experience, school teachers work tirelessly to keep control of the kids. They do a fantastic job, work long hours signing off exam papers and checking the quality of homework.

At the end of the month these teachers receive their salaries, and look forward to the next summer holiday or half term break, away from the highly excitable, tantrum throwing children.

These school teachers are blissfully unaware that a lot of effort goes into paying them on time. For this to happen, our local county councils need to have an efficient process in place, from the interview and on-boarding stages, right through to retirement.

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Take Worcestershire County Council as an example. I was recently tasked with looking at the quality of data and data processing. I gave them some free exception reports they could use in their SAP HR system using the Query Manager tool and we looked at ways of removing manual or paper based processes. We left no stone unturned and do you know what? There wasn’t an inefficient system or process in place. They pay their school teachers, fire crews and other front line services on time, dealing with all the HR administration changes in a slick fashion. To quote: “we have over 36,000 contractual changes a month” – this is no easy feat!

This is all despite the fact that some of their partner organisations only notify the County Council of a new hire or an employment change long after cut off dates were due.  The council soldier on relentlessly, working hard to ensure that all their HR processes work for them and everyone on the payroll (including the schoolteachers), are paid on time. This results in everyone being happy, and as a result of happy school teachers, happy kids too!

So to bring this blog to a close, my experience at Worcestershire showed me that the council made every bit of effort to sit down as a team, map out existing processes and look at ways to improve, no matter how big or small that change could be. This was all made possible by having quality data in the first place. The recommendations we made went beyond the initial data quality review and started down a data governance process!

I won’t complain about my council tax bill again after seeing such a slick operation in just one part of a county council operation.  I know my money is in safe hands and is being used efficiently!

I will be posting more blogs in the near future around data, processes and governance, and more importantly share with you my experiences and viewpoints from organisations themselves.

Feel free to post a comment below or send me a message if you’d like to discuss data management in more detail.

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