#35 June 2022 News

Dear readers

At the time of typing scaffolding is currently being erected around the building. Officially for the purpose of repair and decoration. I’m not necessarily one for conspiracy theories, but unofficially my conjecture would be a more clandestine potentially even machiavellian agenda; that being, to clear the aforementioned building in short order. Now – in a previous life – as a person who was involved in the ‘trades’ I’m familiar with the collegiate and oft rambunctious bonhomie that accompanies groups of outdoor workers – particularly those that arrive in vans armed with various tools designed to deafen those in a 3 mile radius. However, perhaps on account of the sea air, the time of year or just the general convivial and exuberant collective involved in this particular endeavor; the level of banging, shouting, back slapping and general rumpus is not particularly conducive with any kind of indoor working. My theory – once departed, the building will be full of sunglass wearing agents set to take over the world (or at least Torbay). Paranoid? Moi!? – not at all.

Before I head off for a quieter locale – somewhere along the Heathrow flight path perhaps – and as importantly whilst I still have access to a PC; on to the more conventional content in the following form:

Updates:

I’m pleased to report that all Councillors have been updated since the May elections – this work was completed in the last week of May. Complete with correspondence, political affiliation, term and first elected dates. The re-categorisation of the leadership data is well underway and following the AGM’s across Councils we will be updating all the Cabinet and Committee responsibilities.

It’s also worth noting that there were boundary changes to wards and divisions across 26 Council areas, mainly in Wales and London. Anyone needing more details of these, just shout. We are waiting the official coding for the new wards and will be linking these in for our lobbying and geo data feeds as soon as they are available.

An April NHS Trust change to mention:

Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust

Have combined and are now

Royal Devon University Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

Whilst we’re on the subject of Health data, we have recently done some global updates and the GP and Care Home Annual Spend fields. Amounting to over 2000 changes.

As a further point on Healthcare data we are preparing for the transition from CCG’s to Integrated Care Boards (ICB’s) which will officially take place on the 1st of July this year. More information to follow on these changes in the next edition, but rest assured we’re on the case.

General updating work across orgs and postholders continues as usual of course, the following table shows the number of changes made in the past 90 days:

New:

As mentioned in the last newsletter, the table above is available (and live) in our new Oscar database ‘deep dive’ page – for those that missed it last time, this can be seen here

In the dark recesses of Oscar Towers we have been quietly developing a new set of data collection system (AI light you might say) to collect interesting and related data points from across Public Bodies. One of the first deliverables from this being the collection of Cloud Providers into different Government entities. For those with an interest in such things, please get in touch.

One of the other data points we’ve been looking at collecting through this method are Social Media Links for Government organisations – the volume of which has now grown to over 30,000.

We have a new field available for GP Surgeries – ‘Patient List Size’ this provides the latest number of patients for each Practice as published by the NHS. This can be added to live subscriptions as needed, so at the risk of being repetitive, if you’d like to discuss just let us know.

On the general housekeeping front, we have been working on a number of new daily automated checks and balances that run to help keep the data as tidy and sparkly possible – now amounting to over 120 daily processes – these include:

Additional Domain Level checking
Email formatting checking
Removal of unwanted spaces and characters

Interesting:

We have recently become a feed to the ONS for their SDG monitoring.

From the ONS site:

“The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to:

end poverty
protect the planet
improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere”

Specifically we’re providing a feed of gender analysis for Councillors over time. Joining the House of Commons and Lords Libraries and the LGA as a source of official data that contributes to these laudable global goals is definitely something we are very proud of.

You can see the analysis here

Think that’s about it for now. Assuming those pesky Agents have departed we’ll be back in September for a post summer round up. Meantime, hope the sun is shining and continues to do so wherever you are!

James and team at Oscar

#34 March 2022 News

Springtime Salutations to readers new and old.

I hope this finds everyone warm, well and enjoying a touch of sunshine.

Three months since our last periodical instalment and, as seems to be the way of things in the new twenties, global and national events continue at pace ; ‘Freedom day’ sort of marking the end of ‘C-19’ has come and gone, supplanted by perhaps even graver goings-on – being at somewhat of a loss as to a perspective, angle or any other meaningful thought I shall happily defer to those better positioned, informed and generally more erudite to pass comment on the recent events across our wonderful continent.

Our hope in this and many other regards would be that those holding the sway of power across global Government and Business land don’t overly succumb to the doctrine of realpolitik and a more fundamental morality – to which we all subscribe – will win the day.

International matters aside, back to more local, pedestrian and Oscar related matters; we’ve had a busy start to the year, including something spawned from a conversation with another data company (you know who you are) during which it was suggested that we don’t talk enough about that which goes on ‘under the bonnet’ of Oscar. Quite so we thought. The consequence – spread across two months of pondering, scribbling and rewrites – can be seen in our ‘Interesting’ section below. It’s worth a read, promise!

To business and our usual elements for your general perusal and edification:

Updates:

Local Government:

In anticipation of the upcoming May elections, which will include Councillor elections for 4 new Councils due to come into force in 2023 following further Local Government structural changes (yep more change), we will be adding the following organisations as ‘Shadow Councils’ so we have a home to record the newly elected representatives:

New – Cumberland Unitary
Replacing: Allerdale, Carlisle and Copeland, Cumbria County Council

New – Westmorland and Furness Unitary
Replacing: Barrow-in-Furness, Eden and South Lakeland, Cumbria County Council

New – North Yorkshire Council Unitary
Replacing: Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough, Selby, North Yorkshire County Council

New – Somerset Unitary
Replacing: Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton and South Somerset, Somerset County Council

We’ll be summarising the changes in the form of one of our usual ‘intel docs’ shortly and will share in the next edition.

NHS:

Moving from Local Gov to the NHS; to allow sufficient time for the parliamentary stages of the Health and Care Bill the oft referred to CCG to Integrated Care System (ICS) changes have been delayed until July this year. We are keeping track this end and will be making the necessary updates as things change. Speaking of, we have just added two new functional categories to the database to allow for recording the new statutory members of the ICB’s (managing Boards for the ICSs)

Under our ‘Board/Committee’ functional area:

ICB – Chair
ICB – Chief Executive

Parish Councils:

Following a number of Parish Boundary changes across, among other areas, Stroud and West Northamptonshire there have been a number of Parish Code changes and updates made.

The usual general updating has been going on across the database of course. A summary of the level of work and change over the past 90 days can be seen in the table below:

New:

A few exciting things to report this time.

New API:
After a number of requests from the lovely users of our current webservice, we have ‘upgraded’ the current APIs to allow for calls to include a date and then serve up just the changes since that date.

Providing a much more efficient means of maintaining a copy of your database selections in your own system. You can find out more here (page 3)

The extra good news is that if you’re a current subscriber you already have the upgraded API service available.

New C/TPS Screening Service:

Having prevaricated for years about how and whether to telephone preference service (TPS) screen the live Oscar database, we have finally settled on a solution that allows us to serve up live data with C/TPS flags to subscribers. If this is something that would be of use, you can see a little more here and we’d recommend talking to your account manager.

Other things:

Not sure if these are ‘Updates’ or ‘New’, but hey, they’re included:

We have updated our Customer Guide . Well worth a browse for old and new customers alike to ensure you’re getting the most out of your services, or perhaps just to see what you’re missing.

To reflect the new API and C/TPS field options as well as the ever expanding list of discretionary fields available to data subscribers, we have refreshed our field list. Take a look here

Interesting:

As mentioned in the preamble above, we have been hard at work trying to produce something that will give the best possible insights into our database; investment, work, processes and methodologies. In modern parlance what may be called a DEEP DIVE.

Please please have a delve here

Think that just about does it for this time. Unless you’ve simply had enough of the newsletter waffle and opt-out, we’ll be back in touch in June.

Meantime, as the idiom goes; be good and if you can’t be good, be careful!

James and team at Oscar
0330 128 9892
hello@oscar-research.co.uk
http://www.oscar-research.co.uk

#33 October 2021 News

Friends, Romans, Countrypeople

Lend me your eyes (sic) – no, I’m not trying to insinuate any kind of political rhetoric, rather a nod in the direction of what can only be described as (another) recent attack on democracy. Described once by a former leader as the worst system in the world, apart from all the others;  democracy is full of flaws, under representation, regional bias and – certainly in the case of the UK (as we can fully attest to) full of complexity. However, better than all others it is and provides a peaceful, mainly rational and generally agreeable method for political influence, change and representation. As a broadly politically agnostic organisation (as is- as age creepingly replaces youthful idealism – your editor) we are here to record and reflect the toings and froings of political influence, policy and consequent organisational and postholder change without judgement or complaint. That said, I would very much welcome our team never having to make another update that has been caused by fear or anger. As with everyone, our thoughts are with all those connected with Sir David.

Now, putting the soap box to one side and attempting to shift back to the purpose, tone and indeed usual content of our bi-monthly missives, here goes:

Updates:

Following the recent Cabinet Reshuffle  the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has been renamed to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) now headed up by Michael Gove MP. Our Central Govt and MP databases have been updated accordingly.

The datasheets below have been given a birthday, with updated narratives and expanded field lists to show additional data points that are available for selection or inclusion in data delivery:

Housing Association Database 

Care Homes Database

Dentists Database

The largest volume change to any file this month would be our Care Homes database. We have conducted the first of a number of global updates to the database, this particular update was a rationalisation of a number of the ‘Home Type’ categories and a complete review of the capacity/bed number bandings and update across the board. As ever, we would recommend regular users take a complete update.

Related to the Care Homes database, we have been working hard to sync our core entity data with the governments regulatory dataset to further improve the integrity, coverage and structure of the file. For anyone particularly focused on this sector, we’re here to discuss how this process might be of value, including the appending of ratings and other key data points to existing subscriptions.

Similarly, much work has been conducted around the Dental and Housing Association databases. Including a similar benchmarking process. We have also been looking at the group structures here as we look to increase the coverage and integrity of group/parent entities.

Our expansion of postholder coverage across Multi Academy Trusts continues, with the volume of records now at 4400 across the current 1300 entities. Speaking of Schools and Benchmarking, we now have 9 different daily checks that run across the file to help support our proprietary research. This includes changes of school type, status, size and structure.

General updating work across orgs and postholders continues as usual of course, the following table shows the number of changes made in the past 60 days:

New:

We couldn’t resist adding here a teaser to the much mentioned forthcoming OSCAR platform. Please have a gander at our one pager here

If any part of this tickles your fancy, just reply to this email and I’ll make sure you’re added to the list for details of beta testing and launch.

Also a mention this time for a new dataset we have started working on – Pharmacies. These are nested under the ‘NHS’ area of the database and we have tentatively started with the Pharmacy HQ’s with a view to building out the data for these and then linking the individual sites over time. If these are of interest to you, just give us a shout.

Interesting:

As per the table above, it seemed interesting to me at least that the average number of changes across the database runs at over 1000 a day. Conservatively this means over 360,000 changes per annum across the file. In other words, quite a lot! – a useful reminder if needed for all those with current database subscriptions with us to take regular updates. We have a page to help with methods of data access, updating and automation here 

At least as importantly, we’re very proud to be involved with supporting The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons event planned for the 2nd June 2022 to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Weekend (2nd – 5th June 2022) and organised by the Pageantmaster Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR.

Further to the announcement from Buckingham Palace on 2nd June 2021, regarding the Platinum Jubilee Weekend of 2nd – 5th June 2022, which The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons is part of, the following guide is now available

The guide will be updated on this site at the end of each month as more and more communities, individuals and organisations join the event over the forthcoming months. The beacon lighting and associated activities will take place throughout the United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Isle of Man, UK Overseas Territories and, for the first time, in each of the Capital Cities of all the Commonwealth Countries on 2nd June 2022.

Keep warm, safe and well out there!

James and team at Oscar

0330 128 9892

hello@oscar-research.co.uk

#32 August 2021 News

Dear friends, colleagues and other people

As another summer is drawing to a close, we are ushering in Autumn with an apology. This edition of our newsletter is – at the time of typing – 8 days late. The reason for the tardiness? – well…..

Excuse number 1 – we have been very busy working on our new platform and, of course, (said shamelessly) delivering lots of wonderful data driven solutions to clients.

(More accurately) Excuse number 2 – I spent 6 weeks of the summer in sunny Cyprus, hiding from the deluge (other verbs are available) of domestic visitations to the English Riviera. The evasion not being the primary purpose (more a handy by-product), but the trip is mentioned mainly to elicit some sympathy on account of the perpetual 30+ degrees (day and night) as well as – and this really is particularly bad – the need to be working for 5 weeks of that time whilst staring through the window at the sun, pool and mediterranean beyond (in that order).

Arriving at a house that had been empty for 2 years and was, literally, empty. My Greek is on the wrong side of terrible, so with some kindness (and generally excellent English) from the locals – plus the typical but unnecessary pointing and loud enunciation – the place was fitted out with tables, chairs, fridge and other fripperies in a matter of days. All that was left thereafter was to – literally – hide under the aircon unit, balancing the workload on a laptop and generally wondering what time it was acceptable to jump into the aforementioned pool and subsequently occupy a space next to it whilst helping to support some of the (excellent) local vineyards. This particular lifestyle – as it turns out – was not especially suited to the couple of hours of focused thought necessary to produce a meaningful missive!

Excuses dispatched, let’s move on to things you may actually care about:

Updates:

Following on from the May elections, all Councillor data has – of course – been updated, as well as leadership positions. We are also making good progress through the cabinet and committee structures and reorganisations post AGM’s and expect these to be completed this month.

To better reflect our recent work across the Schools database – as mentioned in the previous edition, we have been particularly focused on expanding out the MAT coverage, both in terms of postholder coverage and also ensuring the linkages between schools and parent bodies are as they should be – we have updated our Schools datasheet with a new overview/description

Much work of late has been done across the NHS database, particularly of note here is the continued transitions of STP’s to ICS’s – as regular users will know, these now exist as org types on the database and the coverage across these is continuing to increase. Updates also continue across the consolidated CCG’s as the boundaries/areas continue to move closer to the 44 footprint areas.

We have been busy on the PRP/Housing Association side, we are now ingesting a number of new data feeds from Government published sources to help benchmark both the coverage and relationships between these complex organisations and (more on this next time) we’re working towards a comprehensive organisational and structural re-categorisation of this file.

More general updates have been made across all our Healthcare, Education and Government datasets as reflected in the following table showing changes across the database in the past 60 days:

New:

As some of you may have discovered, we have a new switchboard phone number: 0330 128 9892

The old 0845 number will continue to function for the next 12 months, but worth noting the new one.

After 12 years of the old one, we have a new logo (after much angst, we’re very pleased with the new look). You can now see this in the header of the blog and on the website. This will also feature on our forthcoming platform.

Interesting:

Digital Focus – one of the things we do (and have successfully managed to keep quiet) are a range of digital marcom services – I should add that these newsletters are not a platform to try and sell you anything, but I wanted to share some recent campaign and digital content results to both try and counter our poor attempt at telling people about these services and also because we’re pleased and proud of the results!

We send our regular emails for a University client. As with all email comms, the key elements are relevance and content – so, kudos to them for the following stats:

Delivered: 7135 (98.55%)
Displayed: 6360 (88.9%)
Clicks: 6279 (98.7%)

The following show the results for another client from our PSN platform who we helped to create a number of articles and featured in our monthly Public Sector facing newsletter

Articles Created: 6
Web Article Views: 4105
Newsletter Clicks: 2544

On that positive note, that almost wraps it up for this time. As a final thought for those pondering a protracted mediterranean sojourn, I would say 3 things:

1 – Do it
2 – Don’t go in August
3 – Write any newsletters you may be responsible for before you leave!

James and team at Oscar
0330 128 9892
hello@oscar-research.co.uk

#31 June 2021 News

I hope this finds everyone safe and well.

I wanted to start this mid year edition with a story (do feel free to skip down to the relevant bits further down!):

As a, now relatively long standing, dweller of Devon I would like to consider myself to have transcended what the more obstreperous fellow county dwellers term a “grockle” – I’m unsure of the requisite volume of sand which must have passed through the glass to no longer qualify for this uncharitable epithet, but 6 years (and 2 months) is perhaps at least a decent start. I mention this as – with family in tow – we decided to both embrace the zeitgeist and aim at both a domestic break and to further the ‘west country dweller cool vibe’ (unsure if this is actually a thing, but you know what I mean) and venture further West into the even more aspirational Cornwall. How could this be better – said we – but to enjoy this sojourn via a beach side camp site and in particular to arrive, dwell and return in one of Germany’s famous camper vans (hired for the long weekend at no small cost).

Now, far be it from me to claim that my scant experience of travel, breaks, holidays and all other forms of just not being at home (including associated levels of comfort, relaxation and convenience) constitutes anything worthy of note, nor do I intent any disrespect to (what seemed to be most of the countries inhabitants) arriving in this corner of the UK in every possible form of 2 and 4 wheeled box. However, despite sunny skies, a generous ‘pitch’, a fine view of the azure seas and beautiful white sandy cornish beaches but a bucket and spades throw away, I can report that camping may be one of the most extreme and oversold forms of life’s tortures.

What level of faffery is it when cargo must be unloaded before access to any form of convenience (by which i mean cooker, sink…seating!?) can be accessed. A slight undulation in our ‘spot’ providing tantamount to a slide in the ‘upstairs’ (pop up roof) bedroom – occupied by a 7 year old in a sleeping bag (armed with ‘camping lamp’) – the appearance of which multiple times during the evening, night and early hours – as she maneuvered downhill towards a potential head injury courtesy of the absence of bedroom floor immediately above the driver and passenger seats – was akin to being invaded by an oversized glow worm. The downstairs ‘bed’ – once fashioned – was not a comfortable location for repose (think 4 hours rest for the weekend) and – of course – circa 3 am (freezing – couldn’t figure the heating out) it was necessary to embark on the 17 mile walk to the ablution block. Up at a more reasonable description of ‘the morning’ to fall out through the sliding door, blinking into the sunshine to wonder 2 things:

1 – Had I somehow slipped in Dante’s previously unknown 9th circle of hell?
2 – How many things do I now need to move, slide, push and swear at before I can make coffee!?!

So, dear reader, in my humble estimation Hotels have been invented (and have had a pretty miserable and torrid 18 months), so go support them.

You may also wonder what any of this has to do with Oscar, Public Sector data and all of the other things that this electronic periodical is for. Well, nothing. I had started intending to relay a brief whimsical anecdote and the word count now suggests an essay. My apologies, but the process has at least been cathartic.

Now, on to the usual things:

Updates:

Following the May elections much change – of course – as a result of 2 years worth of councillor elections taking place. This affected 145 Councils in England and around 5000 seats. Also taking place are 15 Local Authority and 9 Combined Authority Mayoral elections. As usual (and thanks to the amazing Local Govt team), all postholder changes were made before the end of May and the allocation of leadership and cabinet/committee functions is well under way (Ed: Stop the presses – literally just heard from the LG team and can confirm all the Leaders have now been updated for the election councils)

An interesting pop fact from the Local Elections:

There were 2159 newly elected Councillors this time – one of the highest %’s of change we’ve seen across local election cycles at some 44%

We have also updated our Live Local Authority Political Analysis (LAPA) report to accommodate the new election year and add another chunk of data to the historical/time series of changes by party.

There were also 41 PCC Elections in England and Wales, 60 Seats elevated to the Welsh Senedd Elections and 129 Regional and Constituency Seats across the Scottish Government. These have also all been updated (as well as the recent by-election – and a couple more of these are to come).

For those that are into their mapping/G.I.S. bits and pieces, there were a significant number of wards (and ward code) changes to note – these have now also been updated following an update on our Geo data feeds. We are also keeping an eye on the proposed 2023 revisions to national Constituencies areas. Details of which can be seen here courtesy of the Beeb.

Outside of elected data, research continues along the usual lines. Items of note here are as follows:

MAT’s – our coverage of senior personnel and checking of School/group structures continues. It’s worth noting there are now nearly 10,000 (a third of all schools) Academies across the UK.

STP/ICS – the transitions continue and we have completed a review of the current organisations and significant post holders. These will continue to develop and grow as it’s suggested they will be replacing CCG’s potentially as early as next year.

Housing Associations – we have an ongoing review into the group structures of Housing Associations with a view to as closely as possible mirror the regulatory data versions of organisations and groups with our own. This is particularly important as we are now mapping housing stock and type to local authority areas. Regular users of this dataset will see frequent changes across the file.

As ever, we encourage all users with current licenses to download the latest data as frequently as possible. The levels of organisational and post holder updates/changes across the board since 1st of April 2021 are shown in the table below:

New:

As part of our continued focus on data coverage and accuracy, we’re pleased to announce two new members to the Education and Healthcare team this end:

Jenni Moorhouse – Research Officer
Candice Powell – Research Officer

A very warm welcome to them both and we’re very pleased they chose to be with us. They are both already busy on the system and hopefully those out there that regularly liaise with the research team will get chance to say “hello” in due course.

As we continue to try and leverage Public and regulatory data to add value and colour to the core Oscar database, we now have a number of new metric and geographic data points available for subscribers to include in their downloads. Details of which can be seen here in the second table. To discuss adding any of these to your subscriptions, or if you have any specific requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The ‘big’ news alluded to in the previous edition is coming soon. We are working very hard (Management, Dev and Research) to put together our new all encompassing platform and can’t wait to share details with you. If anyone out there would like to be involved with the beta testing, please get in touch and we’ll add you to the list.

Interesting:

We held our first (virtual) company awards ceremony this month – henceforth referred to as “The Oscars” – something we will be doing every 6 months to recognise general greatness for those that are just generally great (it’s quite a broad category). 

Which saw three of our lovely workers receive an award – pictures below (no expense has been spared with these):

The first award went to Richard Cunliffe

This is for general sales excellence, brilliant customer service and being an all round nice guy. He has passed 3 years this year with us and has increased his sales and accounts by over 75% last year and is already well ahead again this year. 

The second award went to Eirian Evans

I can’t not start with the fact that Eirian has not had a day off in 11 years!! – that must be some kind of record. Turning up isn’t enough on it’s own of course, she’s also brilliant on the NHS database, especially the Trusts and we’d be rather lost without her knowledge of structures, functions and organisations across Secondary Care. 

The final award went to Nicola Isaats

Nicola has been with us Oscar since 2010 and was with Keystroke for 6 years before that. Making her the longest serving person from that side and one of the longest across the team – 17 years and counting! She has been a total stalwart on the Local Government database, working tirelessly with Alison and John on the political and management side and in particular this year having checked and updated more records in the past 6 months than anyone else.

Congratulations to them and that about wraps it up for another 2 months. Here’s to freedom when it arrives and meantime, keep safe and well!

James and team at Oscar

0845 226 3044
hello@oscar-research.co.uk
www.oscar-research.co.uk

#30 April 2021 News

Springtime salutations from all of us here at Oscar.

I hope this finds you safe, warm and well. There isn’t much unique or new to say about the current ‘state of the union’ except that it would be remiss not to mention the falling case numbers and encouraging restriction relaxations – more of both please! – though our ‘union’ may or may not be strengthened in the forthcoming elections taking part north and west of the borders. We shall be watching with interest from this end.

Time and data rolls on so there is much to tell you about those elections, organisational re-organisations (tautology anyone!?) and other things being cooked up by the ‘dev’ department at Oscar Towers. Due to being a touch over excited about something – currently in the oven/on the bench/bubbling in a tube of unidentifiable colourful liquid – I have to mention here that we have something very exciting coming in 2021…more in future editions on that!

Meantime – and in the usual format – here goes for the April instalment:

Updates:

Let’s start with some of the major changes, referenced in the last edition:

Local Government:

The Northants changes have been actioned this end, as well as the changes to organisational, political and management elements, this has also – of course – impacted the organisational structures. This affected 391 linked Schools, Parish Councils and a handful of Care homes – all of which have also been updated accordingly with their corresponding shiny new parent org.

Summary of Changes can be seen here

NHS:

Same story here for CCG’s – the 38 old organisations have now been removed from the database and 9 new orgs with post holder data moved accordingly – we will be keeping an eye on the new organisations with multiple reviews and updates scheduled over the coming months. The updates included changing the linkage for the 1381 GP Surgeries to the new entities.

Summary of Changes can be seen here

So as a summary for these sets of updates, if you have any of the following data on license with us, it’s well worth an update via your live subscriptions:

Local Gov
Schools
NHS
Parish Councils
Care Homes

While we are on the subject of organisational changes, the Secretary of State has announced a consultation on unitary local government in three areas: Cumbria, North Yorkshire and Somerset. As a result, local elections have been postponed that were due in these areas in May by one year. Affecting the three County Councils, and also elections in Carlisle, Craven and South Lakeland councils.

Outside of these ‘heavy duty’ changes, general updating continues across the board of course and extra focus is currently being put on the updating and expansion of coverage across the Multi-Academy Trusts and the same with the organisational and relational coverage across Housing Associations – more to follow here as we start to map the areas of housing stock coverage to local authority areas.

Levels of organisational and postholder updates/changes across the board since 1st of February 2021 are shown in the table below:

New:

Following on from announcing the inclusion of ‘Annual Spend’ figures, we have now added Population Served figures for around 90% of Parish Councils. Those with current subscriptions to this dataset will see the new values in their next downloads.

After launching our new e-Lobby service last month, we now have a presentation available to tease those that work within Charitable or Membership organisations. Please have a gander here

Interesting:

We were gratified (and humbled) to receive an official thank you for our role in Keylinks free counselling service – offered to all Public Sector frontline and key workers. You can see more about this here

I should also mention here that we have been proudly involved with the promotion of the NHS, Social Care and Frontline Workers Day, organised by Royal Pageantmaster Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR. This event on July 5th 2021 will celebrate and pay tribute to all those on the frontline, both supporting and caring for our nation. Special shout out here to our Adam and Alan for giving up their time to help spread the word. If you’d like to get involved, please see here

Finally (and this will transition to ‘Updates’ in the June newsletter) we need to mention the forthcoming Elections on May 6th – an overview can be seen below and related to which we shall be making updates from the 7th with a view to having all completed by the end of May – so, as ever, please take regular updates!

Local Elections – following the delays from last May, this set will see 2 years worth of councillor elections taking place – affecting 145 Councils in England and around 5500 seats. Also taking place are 15 Local Authority and 9 Combined Authority Mayoral elections.

PCC Elections – The 41 Police and Crime Commissioners in England and Wales

Senedd Elections – 60 Regional and Constituency Seats

Scottish Government Elections – 129 Regional and Constituency Seats

So that’s it for another 2 months. Here’s to a slow and steady return to normality for all and meantime, keep safe and well!

James and all at Oscar

#29 February 2021 News

Dear all

I hope this finds you safe and well!

…and who said winter was the worst part of the year!? – at the time of writing there is (in no particular order), a lockdown, snow, flooding and an argument with our “friends and neighbours” across the channel to contend with; set against the backdrop of (for many of us) bedroom walls, home schooling and the other joys that currently accompany the prevailing situation.

Is this yet another doom and gloom message, sent to drive you to another glass of wine!? – not at all! – Herein is 5 minutes of respite and positivity. Focused around UK Public Services, our data and everything in the middle.

Updates:

Let’s start with some major changes coming in April.

Council Mergers/Changes – always big news and continues the trend from the past 25 years or so of replacing County/District Council splits across England with a single (or in this case 2) Unitary Authority. This year it’s Northamptonshire’s turn with the 8 current councils for the county being replaced by two new organisations. Details can be seen here

CCG’s – there will shortly be 29 less of them. 38 are becoming 9 as part of the ongoing restructuring of the NHS in England with a long term view of there being 44 ‘regional’ areas for Commissioning/Coordination of Healthcare delivery. We will shortly be publishing a list of these and if anybody would like to see this when it’s ready, just let us know.

As an aside/little bit of interesting reading on the Health side, it looks like the Government is keen to exercise a little more direct control over the NHS than it may be doing currently – read here – this may, of course, precipitate further changes down the road.

As you might expect, we’ll be making the updates in as near real time as possible and, as ever, for subscribers another great reason to make the most of your live database access.

Work continues along the usual update cycles across the Education, Healthcare and Government datasets and the following table shows the level of changes since the previous Newsletter in December:

New:

New MAT Cats (has a ring to it)

As part of our continuing work focused on expanding the depth of coverage around Multi-Academy Trusts, we have added a number of new functional categories to that database and work has already started with populating the corresponding post holders. The new functional categories are as follows:

Clerk/Secretary – Most senior Administrative contact. Specific and in some cases statutory post
Central Administrative Services – Central management of administrative support services provided for other departments.
Corporate/Strategic/Policy Planning – Involves advising/planning in connection with strategic issues and developing systematic processes to enable, general organisational development, expenditure programmes and services to be evaluated and optimised
Operational Services – Strategic role concerned with service delivery from a logistical perspective. Often involves co-ordinating partnerships with other organisations.
Quality Assurance – Monitoring the services provided by the organisation/department against predefined standards.
Educational Strategy – Responsible for monitoring the quality of Education provided by the organisation and developing new and better ways to provide services
Welfare – Provide advice and support to schools, children their families where there are social or emotional problems affecting school attendance or education in general
Public Relations/Marketing – Promoting the image and services provided by the organisation
Central Financial Services – Overall responsibility for financial services in the organisation
Central Computing – In charge of in-house IT for the whole organisation and management of contracts with outsourced/contracted IT. Responsible for corporate policies and related purchasing.
Facilities/Property Management – Overall and day-to-day management of all kinds of property owned by the organisation. Depending on the organisation type can include offices, depots, hospitals, classrooms, public buildings, smallholdings and farms.
Health and Safety (Internal) – Internal implementation of legislative requirements concerned with the safety of employees and members of the public within publicly run/owned buildings
Central Legal Services – All kinds of in-house and outsourced legal work.
Central Personnel Services – Human resource and personnel management for the organisation as a whole. Day-to-day management may be delegated to departments in larger organisations
Central Purchasing of Supplies – Management of some or all of an organisations purchasing processes; including lists of approved suppliers; bulk purchases; organisation wide standards and annual contracts.

Related to the ‘Interesting’ section below, we have also added ‘Gender’ categories to the MP’s and Devolved Members database. Anyone with subscriptions to these will now see the new values in their downloads.

Interesting:

Following a request by the ONS for the publication of a gender analysis of Locally and Nationally elected representatives as part of their global data platform promoting equality, we have put together this live report – please feel free to use and share the information contained, we just ask for a credit/link back to the report where published.

Finally, we have a new researcher who’s joined us this month and is working with the existing team focusing on the Education and Care datasets, so would like to say a very big hello to Jenni – great to be working with you.

That’s about it for Feb – here’s to spring and a general thawing in all senses and see you in April.

James and all at Oscar

#28 December 2020 News

Festive greetings to everyone.

Well, we’re approaching the end of 2020 and what a year it has been. I think it’s safe to say that we won’t forget it anytime soon. Genuinely from all at Oscar, and I hope without being platitudinous; we hope all you and yours have remained healthy and continue to do so and, at the further risk of being a touch Gregorian, here’s to 2021!

For us, 2020 has been a very busy year and we are very grateful to have been able to keep the doors (and windows) open, lights on and all other related similes that pertain to us being here, being busy and having the chance to work with some great clients and on some interesting projects.

The year has also brought about the crystallisation of what can only be described as a general existential crisis as to what Oscar is, what we do and why we do it. The cure; well, there’s more on that in the ‘Interesting’ section below.

Meantime, over to our usual allotments of news and info.

Updates:

It’s customary – or at least traditional this end – to start with our availability over the yuletide:

We are closed from December 23rd until Jan 4th – email will be monitored during this period and our live systems will, as ever, be available to everyone as needed.

Following the launch of our new e-Lobby Service, we have updated our Customer Guide. The latest version can be seen here

Unusually to start with on the database side; Education – for Further and Higher Education, as with the Schools, datasets we’ve been busy on post September updates and have added a new functional category to the database:

‘Academic Services – Digital’ – covering those senior Academic Department Heads responsible for Digital courses.

Speaking of new functional categories, we have another one to tell you about:

‘Board/Committee – PCN Social Prescribing’ – these are the members of the Primary Care Networks (PCNs) responsible for connecting people via non medical referrals with the community through community schemes, resources and the voluntary sector. For more on PCN’s and the other changes across Primary Healthcare, please see previous newsletters, view our intel hub, or just get in touch.

Co-incidentally, we also have two new fields to report, both are now available as optional fields for subscribers:

ActualSpend – Numerical Value showing total spend for the organisation. Data provided through a combination of direct research and modelling for smaller entities. We have recently added actual spend figures for Councils, NHS Trusts, Colleges, Larger Govt Departments and Universities as well as looking in depth at Parish Council spend.

NumChildOrgs – Shows as a numerical value the number of linked Child Organisations. This one is particularly handy for sizing/profiling the Care Home and Schools databases.

The full list of recently added optional fields can be seen here

A note for the future – we have also started looking at the relationships between Housing Association stock (ie where they are active) and Local Authority areas – more to follow on this in the coming newsletters.

Across all areas of course our research continues as ever. Levels of organisational and postholder updates/changes across the board since 1st of October 2020 are shown in the table below:

New:

We’ve made something completely new and shiny; our e-Lobby Tool

This provides an end to end solution for Charities and Membership organisations that want to create campaigns and encourage their users, supporters or members to lobby their national or local representatives. Democratic!

You can take a look here

If you’d like to know any more or book a demonstration, please just get in touch.

Interesting:

It was perhaps inevitable that BREXIT would get a mention somewhere. To which end, our friends at e-shot have put together a summary of data protection considerations post EU/Dec 31st.

Data protection regulations will not change after the UK leaves the EU, but that does not mean there is no impact on organisations from a data protection perspective. Take a look at e-shot’s overview and summary of data transfer considerations for when the UK is reclassified as a ‘third country’.

Moving away from that thorny subject and to continue from the initial preamble; who are we and what are we about (rhetorical – well, mostly!) etc.

To try and answer those philosophical musings on the what, who, how and why; we’ve been working on some Mission and Vision statements. 

These are as follows:

Mission:
We facilitate better communication to, engagement with and understanding of UK Public Services through unique research, accurate data and innovative data driven systems.

Vision:
To never stop learning, growing and evolving – Furthering choice, collaboration and knowledge for the public and all working with and within UK Public Services.

Following any feedback internally and externally (that’s you, so please do let us know what you think) they will be taking pride of place on our website.

And finally, thank you to all our staff and customers this year. We wouldn’t be here without you and we appreciate all that you bring to our little corner of Devon.

A very Happy Christmas and we look forward to working with you in 2021.

James and all at Oscar

0845 226 3044
hello@oscar-research.co.uk
www.oscar-research.co.uk

#27 – October 2020 News

Autumnal Greetings from the South Coast.

I hope this finds everyone safe and well and all are managing with the varying degrees of freedom to at least a satisfactory level.

For the purposes of balance we can report that following the last newsletter written under the glare of the mid-summer sun; the English Riviera is now cold, wet and generally conditions are conforming to the typical seasonal zeitgeist. The staycationers, day trippers and all other visiting folks have returned from whence they came, leaving nothing behind but for the incongruous collections of large cruise ships that are currently moored along the coastline. A reminder, if it were needed, that things have some way to go before normalcy is resumed.

With all that said, on to all things Oscar:

Updates:

The NHS (one of our favourite topics for the update section it would seem) continues to evolve. The start of this month saw a significant merger between Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and The Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and we note a number of forthcoming CCG mergers that will be reflected in the database as they happen. Beyond which, the ever changing primary care landscape is worthy of note with the ongoing merger of GP Practices and rationalisation of Surgeries. As ever, those with access to this data should be taking regular updates to ensure accuracy.

Local Government updates continue as normal, with a few noteworthy changes, including those of Leadership, both on the Executive and Elected side. Most recently (at the time of writing) Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council have elected a new leader. There are also going to be some big changes to Local Government in Northamptonshire next April, with the current County Council and 7 District being replaced by two new Unitary Councils – continuing the established theme across England of replacing two tiers with a single tier of Local Government.

The result of the database, including all other areas of Healthcare, Education and Housing are being worked on. Notably on Housing there is some news to report in due course on the linking of Housing Stock owned/managed by RSL’s/PRP’s to Council areas.

As a new feature to be included in every newsletter, we’re going to show the level of changes and updates across all areas of the database since the previous newsletter – partly to show off and partly to encourage regular updates across our subscriber base.

To that end, the analysis of changes since 1st of August 2020 is as follows:

New:

To quote Mr Disraeli (and no, not the one about Lies and Statistics – however true that may be), there can be no happiness without action, or in our world; Development. There are a number of new things in the pipeline which I’m looking forward to sharing across the next few newsletters. For this installment, and as mentioned in the August edition, we have put together some guides and generally attempted to centralise information about how (best) to access, consume and update Oscar data (assuming you work for one of those well informed companies out there that have a current subscription of course – if not, what are you waiting for!?).

So, for Data/Workflow options and also to see our guides to ‘automagically’ feeding Oscar data into either Google Sheets or Excel, please have a look here

In addition, we also now have a number of additional optional fields that can be added to customers subscriptions. For a full list, please see here – it’s worth noting these have not been added to the standard downloadable fields, so as not to ‘upset’ all the current automatic importing processes clients have in place.

Stand-out additions (for us anyway) are:

Local Government – Housing Stock
(Shows the number of Units/Houses Owned or Managed by the Organisation)

LegalStatus
(Banded values showing the official legal status of each organisation. Values include: Public Bodies, Companies and Charities)

NumberofEmployees(Modelled)
(Modelled employee banding values based on an algorithm from all other organisational size metrics to create a universal single value field)

Schools – ofstedrating
(The overall rating following the most recent OFSTED inspection)

Interesting:

Following on from a number of Market Research projects we got involved with earlier in the year, one in particular is nearing full publication – it includes thoughts from over 1000 Councillors across the UK in regard to the impacts of the current pandemic. Our friends at the MJ have published some elements here. The full report will be available for public consumption in due course.

That about does it for now. Keep warm and well.

James and all at Oscar

#26 – August 2020 News

Greetings to one and all.

I hope this finds you safe, well and cool!

At the time of writing, the mercury has reached a dizzying (by UK standards) 32 degrees down here on the English Riviera, resulting in two small issues. 1: The annual dilemma of whether to purchase an air con unit for the circa 48 hours a year of heat and 2: Where does one park when you live in a town that is currently being visited by the rest of the country during that relatively narrow window otherwise known as the summer holidays. Exacerbated at present of course due to that new entry in the contemporary lexicon; “staycations”

I digress, though if any of you have not yet visited torbay, you may like to see the balance of your fellow country people here courtesy of our webcam

In seriousness, it’s good to see the world moving again and anecdotally at least based on some of the conversations we’re having, the commercial wheels seem to have started turning again. We can but hope it is to set to continue and ultimately to be to the benefit of all.

On to Oscar and Public Sector related matters:

Updates:

We have recently implemented a number of new checks and balances via some new streams of regulatory data we are pulling into the Oscar system. These will further improve the data integrity, structure and coverage of high organisation volume datasets – in particular Schools, GP Surgeries and Care Homes. Those savvy people with current subscriptions to any (or all) of these should look to take regular updates as often as practical.

Related to which, we will be including in the next edition of this missive some new information about a number of data, update and workflow automation options we can help all data customers with. If this is of interest meantime, do get in touch – we’re never opposed to a good chat about data feeds, API’s or anything else that improves quality, experience and saves time!

The NHS updating continues and we now have a new organisation type covering Sustainable Transformation Partnerships/Integrated Care Systems (‘ICS/STP’)’ and the coverage of key post holders across these is increasing as we go. In addition, the coverage of Primary Care Network (PCN) Clinical Directors (invariably GP’s) has increased considerably over the past few months and now stands at over 800. Related to GP Surgeries, we have also now taken the decision to start recording the branch and other surgery sites against each GP Practice. This will enable users to both identify all Surgeries run by each Practice and better reflects the continued merging of Practices into ‘Groups’.

Our Central and Local Government Research Teams have had a busy summer, continuing with the general updates across Departments, Agencies and Councils and attempting to keep up with the inevitable increase in changes that have occurred since the Spring.

As ever, for any specific queries, support or anything we can do to help support you, just shout.

New:

Our lovely friends at eShot (the email platform and marketing automation service we use and partner with) have very kindly put together a specific offer for Oscar data customers. So, if you’re looking for a new email platform, want to supercharge and automate your electronic marketing, or are just generally curious, please have a look here

The offer remains open until September 30th this year.

Interesting:

Our SYT platform continues to develop, if you haven’t already have a quick play. Just enter your postcode here and see what we can tell you about your location.

If you haven’t done so already, we cannot but recommend activating your PSN Supplier Subscription – the subscription is free and can be found at the top of your Oscar Customer Area (the page you see after logging in). The benefits include a profile of your organisation within our Supplier Directory and a feed of Public Tenders linked to your specific area of activity, these are also conveniently summarised for you in a weekly round-up email. An overview of the subscription can be seen here.

That about does it for August and we’ll be back again in the Autumn with some news about data automation, a chunk of new additions to SYT and some new research services that are all currently in the works.

Until then, stay safe and well.

James and all at Oscar