How to collect routine data
Start by reviewing the routine data you already collect and identify any gaps.
User data is often collected when an individual applies to take part in a programme or service via a sign-up or registration form. You may ask someone their age, for example, to assess their suitability.
Engagement data is often collected on an ongoing basis, for example, by tracking visits to an online resource or recording attendance at events. If you host a telephone helpline, it could include the number and duration of calls.
Feedback data can be captured via social media or through surveys. You may have an instant feedback mechanism for a particular service, where people rate their interaction immediately afterwards.
How to use data systems to manage routine data
A good data system can help with:
● Data entry: Making data collection easier and more efficient, while ensuring consistency and accuracy
● Data storage: Reducing paperwork, while storing sensitive data securely in one place.
● Data use: Ensuring data is easily accessible to staff, and can be compiled or aggregated, and presented via reports or dashboards.
In developing or updating a data system, it is important to think about your needs. What data do you want to collect? What do you need the system to do? And how can it be integrated with your day-to-day work? The design and rollout of the system will need to be led by someone with enthusiasm for the task, and preferably relevant experience.
If you don’t already have a data system, it’s worth considering off-the-shelf options, rather than building your own from scratch. Speak to others who have been through a similar process. If you do opt for something new, provide potential suppliers with a detailed overview of your requirements to get a sense of the cost. Be clear about the data you plan to collect, and the outputs you want the system to generate. Outline any ongoing support you may need, particularly if you don’t have in-house IT expertise.
If you already have a data system, it may be possible to adapt it. However, be wary about sticking with a system that’s not right for your needs.