VIPER – Vulnerable Indicators for Properties in Emergency Response

Cumbria’s Digital team was approached by the Local Resilience Forum to deliver a digital solution for the ‘Vulnerable Person Register’ working group.

The problem the Local Resilience Forum were faced with in times of crisis was that they were unable to identify who was the most vulnerable of customers in the affected area.  They had access to various data sources but could not easily drill down into the data allowing them to prioritise which doors to knock on first. 

A multi-disciplinary project team was created with members from digital, emergency planning, county and LRF colleagues to talk through what the potential solution would look like.

The vision was to create a data rich solution that would enable the identification of vulnerable people easily and quickly in the event of emergency response, utilising multiple data sources from utility companies, Fire, Adult Social Care, District assisted bin collections etc.

It is the Digital Team’s philosophy to remain technology agnostic and to take a user centred design approach to understand user needs, the business objectives and how other stakeholders and systems will impact on the digital service. After establishing business objectives with the relevant stakeholders, Liberty Create was identified as a good fit to deliver the solution, particularly as it had been previously used for the Track and Trace initiative, working well with multiple data sources in an interoperable system.

The solution by design includes zero personally identifiable information, preferring to identify properties where one or more data source(s) have indicated a vulnerable occupant.  The idea being that the more a property appears in various datasets – the higher the priority is to knock on that door first!

Users can search for properties by;

  • Polygons on a map,
  • Address / postcode search,
  • Identify properties with a known Property Profile such as High, Very High etc,
  • Identify who is yet to be contacted/visited.
  • Select a predefined Flood Warning area (FWA) to highlight affected properties.

When the most vulnerable properties have been identified by the applied search criteria, the outcome of the remote contact or actual visit is then recorded on the system providing a real-time situation report that can be used to monitor the response effectively.

The reach of this initiative has been far and wide and has gained interest from many areas, regions and authorities which will continue to transform Local Resilience Units response to emergency incidents in our communities.

VIPER was also awarded Silver in ‘The Use of Data Insight’ category, 2023 Public Sector Transformation Awards of which we received the award in person at the prestigious awards held at Church House, London.