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Community • Community data • Completed

Lessons from developing data maturity in the immigration legal advice and support sector

Sam Mackay, Kerry McCarthy, James Bowles  |  13th July 2023

Between July 2022 to May 2023 Apteligen  was appointed by Justice Together Initiative (JTI), Justice Lab and North East Law Centre (NELC) to provide data practitioner support to NELC and two of their partners in the JTI funded NE Partnership – North of England Refugee Service (NERS) and Justice First

The original focus of this project was to:

  1. Nurture the technical intuition and / or analytical capability of staff in the NE partnership organisations, who have a remit of data within their organisation. The purpose being to expand the technical and reasoning skills of data leads and increase the purposeful collection and use of data, including from easier data sharing between organisations in the NE partnership.
  2. Explore what was already possible with regard to shared data standards for understanding client profiles, client engagement with services, the types of services which are provided and referred to, and to reveal challenges for developing data standards.
  3. Develop guidance for legal advice and support organisations to develop compelling case studies and stories which draw upon quantitative and qualitative data.

Overall to improve the partnerships data maturity by supporting the organisations to better understand the data they collected about client profiles, engagements and referral pathways.

Throughout the project, NELC, NERS and Justice First as legal advice and support providers; JTI and Justice Lab as funders; and Apteligen as data practitioners were supportive of how the process would need to evolve to respond to the needs of the different organisations, and the realities of the contexts they are working in. The changes to the project scope and lessons learnt are captured in this report.

The report has useful learning for:

  • Not-for-profit sector, in particular smaller organisations who are at an earlier stage of their data journey and who have more limited capacity for data work, and organisations working in the immigration legal advice and support sector;
  •  Funders looking to build the data capacity and capability of the not-for-profit sector; and
  • Other data practitioners working in and with the not-for-profit sector.