Learn how Ballarat is harnessing the power of data to drive better outcomes for people, and to realise the vision of a thriving, equitable and sustainable community.

To understand how their community was faring, Ballarat Foundation recently undertook a data ‘pulse-check’ releasing a Vital Signs report and online data platform, in partnership with Seer Data & Analytics.

The aim is to drive better outcomes in terms of health, family violence, unemployment, housing affordability, homelessness, wages, alleged offending, community safety, and volunteering.

The data platform, containing more than 100 insights with an accompanying report, is a living, breathing snapshot of the Ballarat community, which will be used collaboratively to shift the needle on local issues.

Ballarat Foundation CEO Andrew Eales said “Our vision for the platform is for it to be a space where community organisations can add their own data, creating a deeper, richer understanding of need in our community.”

“In turn, these organisations will reap the benefits of access to an evidence base on which they can tell their stories, which will see a greater success in obtaining funds in areas where our community needs increased support.” he said.

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Andrew and the Ballarat Foundation team have been engaging with cross-sector community stakeholders, who are keen to be part of the solution, on how they can best collaborate together to create a data-driven, united response at a local level. Learn more about the report and data dashboard here.

Key take-aways and food for thought around data access, decision-making and community empowerment:

  • With data in our hands, we can bring clarity to key societal issues. We can tell stories supported by evidence — data, increasing the ability to adequately respond and plan.
  • Using data in decision-making increases the trust of partners and stakeholders in the foundation. Internally, it plays an important part in the strategy development.
  • Local datasets are more current compared to the available statistics. The Ballarat Foundation in collaboration with Seer Data & Analytics developed the Vital Signs platform and made it freely accessible to the community to inform better project planning and advocacy work to the government.
  • On International Women’s Day, the Ballarat Foundation announced a new Women’s Fund looking at project-based responses in the community to the issues identified through Vital Signs. Members of the community can join the fund by donating and influencing the projects that are being funded.
  • Grass-root data collaboration and local data collaboration inform better decision-making locally to inspire change. It informs better investments and policy-making to impact key issues in our communities, as well as funding allocation.
  • With access to data, the aspiration is to be able to measure the impact of the projects. Over the long term, the aim is to scale-up collaborations including the government as well as the private sector.
  • Communities want to own their own data assets, while the governments can facilitate and support place-based work.