Liverpool City Region’s Civic Data Cooperative launches solution-based thinking for the future of public services

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The Liverpool City Region’s [LCR], Civic Data Cooperative [CDC] has redesigned solution-based thinking for the future of public services through the development of their ‘What’s your problem?’ series.

Funded by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority [LCRCA], the CDC is creating a platform that enables better health and care for people everywhere by the improved mobilisation of civic data and action across the region.

In September 2021, the CDC launched an ambitious programme with the desire to get under the skin of the role that SMEs play in using data when designing solutions for public services. This complex landscape required unpicking before the CDC could understand how they could contribute real and meaningful change for the region, so they brought in public sector redesign specialists, Capacity to help bring the programme to life.  

As the CDC’s first programme, ‘What’s Your Problem?’ also created the opportunity for CDC to build their culture, launch their brand and establish themselves as a leading player in the role of data in public services and the SME economy of city region.

Together with Capacity, the CDC held a series of meetings to listen to key stakeholders and decision makers across public sector services to find the stickiest issues the region faces.

From these conversations, there was an apparent need for businesses to create solutions that fitted the problems that actually exist – instead of creating fixes for problems that don’t.

This created the opportunity to share learnings with SMEs and organisations to build better solutions for the future and pitch their ideas at the ‘What’s your problem? – the finals event in late April 2022.

The finals event brought together an impressive panel of experts to un-pick and critique the strongest solutions as part of their ‘pitch’, with the Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Steve Rotheram, opening a wider discussion on the importance of civic data for healthier communities for generations to come. 

The panel of experts then chose three businesses to receive a share of the first round of the CDC’s seed fund as they continue to work with CDC to develop and progress their ideas – creating solutions to better suit the problem at hand. The successful businesses were:

  1. Damibu – using codified metadata to share content across organisations and websites including hyper local community driven information
  2. Spacious places – improving lung health through specific passive and active environmental controls sensors and monitoring within housing specific home environmental data sets
  3. Koala – co-production of key indicators with parents to identify and improve pathways for families to seek help

CDC and Capacity will continue to work together on ‘What’s your problem? – round 2’ later in the year, in the meantime, they will continue their collaboration on an exciting new programme which will take place right in the heart of our communities and in our homes.  

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “The events of the past two years have exasperated many of the inequalities that exist in our region – and highlighted the disparity in the health and wellbeing of our people. That’s why we’ve invested in the ethical Civic Data Cooperative, to help us analyse the needs of our communities and drive-up standards in care.

“I want our area to be the most digitally connected city region in the UK and we can only achieve that ambition by investing in companies with the imagination and skills to make sure that we’re connecting our community of more than 1.6 million residents with the information they need.”

Gary Leeming, Director at Civic Data Cooperative commented: “We are thrilled by the engagement we have had for the ‘What’s your problem?’ project. CDC knew that there was a real need and gap to link up SMEs together with public services in order to tackle problems that actually exist, rather than create solutions for those that don’t. We are really impressed with the quality of organisations and ideas we have seen through the programme and we congratulate Damibu, Spacious Place Life and Koala NW as the final winners.  

We look forward to working with them on their solutions and developing our next project, building on this learning, with Capacity later in the year.”

Emma Lord, Director of Health at Capacity added: “This has been an exciting project to work on with CDC. We can see now that there is a real appetite for change across the region and now is the time to use this energy to better link up public sector with the pool of talent we have in the LCR. A big priority for us from the beginning was to provide real value across the piece, including those all important introductions across sectors – our aim was to not just open doors, but take them off the hinges, and I think that’s been a great success.”

To find out more about the Civic Data Cooperative, visit