Information about Insight Bristol, the Think Family Database and Think Family Education, how we handle data, other helpful links.

Insight Bristol

Insight Bristol is a data team comprising Bristol City Council and Avon and Somerset Police employees. It was set up in 2015 in response to the national Troubled Families Programme (now known as the Supporting Families Programme).

Insight Bristol uses data from different agencies to support vulnerable families across Bristol. By combining this data, we can work together to better support the city's most vulnerable people.

Since 2015 Insight Bristol has developed some innovative products, including:

  • the Think Family Database (TFD).
  • The Think Family Education application (app)
  • Think Family Notifications

They will transform the way data can support safeguarding professionals and are recognised nationally.

Think Family Database (TFD)

The Think Family Database (TFD) supports and connects safeguarding professionals from Bristol City Council and other public sector organisations.

The data collected by Insight Bristol is securely held in the TFD, and includes information from approximately 50,000 families across Bristol.

The TFD pulls together data from several public sector sources including:

  • Bristol City Council (Children Social care, Early Help, Education)
  • Avon and Somerset Police
  • Department for Education
  • Department for Work and Pensions
  • South West Commissioning Support Unit (SWCSU)

The data from these organisations displays vulnerabilities or needs. It gives practitioners working with families an understanding of:

  • the family's immediate need
  • which services the need comes from

The practitioner can contact the relevant service. This helps the practitioner better support the family because:

  • the practitioner can discuss the family's immediate issues with the agencies involved
  • the family does not have to repeat the same story

This embedded approach helps practitioners coordinate support for families who are most in need.

Think Family Education (TFE)

Insight Bristol has developed the Think Family Education (TFE) application (app). It helps Designated Safeguarding Leads and pastoral teams in education settings to identify vulnerabilities by sharing timely and crucial data from Bristol City Council, Avon and Somerset Police and other partners.

TFE was piloted at 4 schools in Bristol and developed with input from:

  • safeguarding staff
  • education inclusion managers
  • safeguarding education teams
  • information governance consultants
  • school consultations

Approximately 130 schools in Bristol will have access to the TFE app.  ARC West researchers will help Insight Bristol evaluate the impact of the TFE in education settings.

The feedback so far from settings about the TFE has been overwhelmingly positive.

Information governance and ethics

We have robust privacy and sharing agreements with all partners and related agencies.

The ICO has reviewed the documentation and confirmed our compliance with the relevant data legislation.

Sharing data on the TFD and TFE requires robust information governance. See the Insight Bristol privacy notice.

pdf Insight Bristol Data Flow, Indicator List and Legal Gateways (208 KB) shows:

  • how the data flows through the Think Family Database and the Think Family Education
  • what the information is (the indicator list)
  • the legal gateways that allow us to share this information


Insight Bristol is working with the Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO) and the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation (CDEI):

  • to support the National Data Strategy
  • for transparency
  • to provide clear information to the public and interested stakeholders about the algorithmic tools it uses, such as the targeted analytic models

Insight Bristol has completed an Algorithmic Transparency Standard and you can see this on Github.

We've consulted the Bristol City Youth Council to get their  views on how Bristol City Council and our partners should share information. The Bristol City Youth Council is an elected group of young people aged 11 to 18. See pdf Insight Bristol Ethics Youth Council report (250 KB) .

Contact information

Head of Insight, Performance and Intelligence

Bristol City Council