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Community Insights Laboratory

Data is often described as the currency of the twenty-first century.  In the social sector we’ve always been a bit reticent about data – we’re about people not numbers, aren’t we?

SociaLink’s Community Insights Lab (CIL), established in 2020, helps the Western BOP (WBOP) social sector build confidence, skills and trust in using data in order to inform and enhance the work we all do.

Every day we collect and store massive amounts of information about how we run our groups and services and the people in our community we engage with.  This data mostly falls into one of six categories1:

We collect and collate information about a whole array of things every day:

  • The gender, ethnicity, age, suburb, employment status of people we work with;
  • The dates people are referred to/first access our services, the types of services they engage with, information and resources we provide them, how long we’ve been engaged with them, whether they’re happy with our support and services, when we close their file (and why);
  • The reasons people engage with us, their needs and the goals/agreements/plans arising out of their involvement;
  • Our staff/volunteers/board members – who they are, how long they’ve been involved, the work they do for us, their remuneration, training …
  • The programmes and services we provide – what, how much, when, how, why;
  • What we know about how well we are doing – formal and informal feedback from the people we work with and other stakeholders; and the impact for individuals and the wider community of what we do;
  • Everyday info about what we do … when we open, where we are based, what it costs to run our organisation, what our income sources are and where they come from, our plans as an organisation (for this week, this month and the next 5 years);

All community organisations and agencies, collect and collate information every day. But what do we do with this data? How do we harness insight from all the information we collect to work more effectively and efficiently to achieve the goals we set?

Here at the CIL we will support your organisation to gain confidence in how you collect, explore, report, visualise and learn from the info/data you hold.  We believe as a sector we will be stronger and achieve our goals individually and collectively if we use the data we hold more constructively to inform what we do. 

The Community Insight Lab (CIL) goals:

  • To provide WBOP community organisations up-to-date analysis and data based on external national and regional datasets relevant to the social sector, and the communities we serve;
  • To work alongside local organisations to build data skills capability;
  • To act as a local data repository and data support centre which encourages the growth in sector-wide insights to better inform planning, policy and best practice across community and social organisations around the WBOP.

So get in touch with CIL staff to talk with us about your data needs, questions or ideas. We’ll support your organisation to build your skills and expertise in utilising both your own and relevant external data to enhance and grow your work in our community.