Statistics and local information
Sometimes we need to find specific information about a local area, and although we know the data should be publicly available, it’s hard to know where to start. Again our Knowledge and Information Service is really helpful for identifying appropriate sources of evidence and helping us to use it.
A good example is the evaluation planning for our Parents Under PressureTM (PUP) programme. This is a parenting programme that supports families where a primary carer is on a drug or alcohol treatment programme. It’s targeted at families with very young children.
PUP was being delivered in 11 areas across England and Scotland and we needed to make a decision about which of these would be part of the randomised controlled trial (RCT) we were to carry out to evaluate the service. The RCT would run across 6 sites. To make an informed decision, we wanted as much information as possible on local needs and on the service networks in each area. This was to give the study the best chance of receiving the highest possible number of referrals.
The exact information we wanted didn’t exist. But our KIS colleagues were able to collate data from a range of sources, which we put together to create a picture of local needs and services. For each of our sites they were able to provide: numbers of adult women in drug treatment; proportions of adult women in drug treatment who were pregnant and who lived with their children; and percentage of the local adult population - males and females - who were considered high risk in their drinking. For the local service context, KIS provided us with a brief analysis of local children’s and young people’s plans and local drugs strategies. These were very helpful for giving us a sense of how the PUP programme fitted with local priorities.
We were able to add this data to some local knowledge on local service networks and referral pathways to make an informed judgment about which areas were best for the RCT. Having access to such a wealth of data on each of our local sites was extremely valuable for our evaluation.