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Safer Businesses

Essex has some 87,500 businesses within its boundaries.

As organisations working together to lead public safety, Police, Local Authorities and partner agencies provide support and services to many of the businesses across Essex and have a shared responsibility to quality assure and address unsafe practice. Essex Partners know that early intervention can prevent issues escalating, which is better for the people affected and less expensive for the taxpayer, and identified a gap in their understanding of the work being undertaken by individual agencies to improve the functioning and management of local businesses.

The Safer Businesses project brought together 120,000 records relating to 14,300 businesses, that’s 16% of the total businesses across Essex, to create a shared understanding of businesses of ‘concern’ and to obtain a wider understanding of the tools available across services to enable safer businesses.

Combining intelligence from Essex Police, Trading Standards and Licensing, Food Standards Agency, Environment Agency, Care Quality Commission and Essex Fire and Rescue, about the businesses they serve, and using it to create a shared overview of all of the intelligence, told us that on an average day in Essex there are 245 separate contacts with businesses; whether that’s agencies responding to an incident or crime, carrying out enforcement activity or conducting an inspection. 

Our approach to joining cross organisational data identified that 39% of businesses are known to more than three authorities across the county, and 5% of businesses that come to the attention of multiple agencies, contribute significantly to the cost and demand experienced by Councils and Emergency services accounting for almost a quarter of all complaint and enforcement interactions. Using mapping tools we were also able to identify geographical hotspots, which told us that retail areas are five time more likely to require support than bars. The insight provided us with a unique opportunity to target our resources effectively and support business most in need in Essex.

With this insight we’ve been able to:

  • Create a business repository where users can safely, ethically and regular share data in a useable and actionable way for the first time enabling them to immediately identify what data is on record relating to individual businesses across Essex
  • Provide a chronological history of licencing related to premises to inform District and County Council licensing enforcement
  • Inform intelligence-led tasking and allocation of resources, for example the Fire Service are conducting fire safety visits related to the identified arson hotspots,
  • Enable proactive identification of businesses at risk by using an interaction scoring and harm severity methodology

To further enhance the insight, we have invited partners to feed additional data in to our future analysis in relation to building control, planning and safety inspections, business licensing and commercial property information.