Going further, faster.

Uncovering £240m of data value, to help DVSA focus data spend for impact.
of savings generated for the UK economy by preventing road accidents.
worth of data value uncovered.

At a glance

  • With limited resources and lots of customer-facing services, DVSA must invest in the right data to ensure they can promote and ensure safe drivers and vehicles.

  • However, DVSA had been measuring data in terms of cost and risk rather than value, so needed to know the data that mattered most to their customers and the UK economy.

  • DVSA now know the value and maturity of their data assets, helping them have informed conversations about the importance of data for customer outcomes, which data matters most, and how to fix it.

Who are DVSA?

DVSA is responsible for ensuring the safety and reliability of vehicles and drivers in the country. With over 40.3 million licensed vehicles in the UK, and hundreds of thousands of new drivers each year, DVSA has a crucial job, a big mission statement, and a lot of data to match.

What was the problem?

How do we prioritise data initiatives to deliver maximum business impact, with limited resources?

When Shirley Harding and Chris Barnes first approached us, they wanted to help DVSA unleash the power of technology and data. But Shirley and Chris were aware of their constraints.

To make that vision a reality, they knew they needed to make as much impact as possible with the limited resources available.

Chris realised that “When you don’t have an infinite budget, it’s imperative to have a measure of why one business case is a priority over another.”

How do we break down data siloes and bridge knowledge gaps?

Data was compartmentalised into specific functions, preventing valuable data spreading across the organisation and often leading to costly data rework and duplication.

Whilst people in DVSA knew data was important, they struggled to communicate why and how their data was part of a bigger system.

The data team wanted to demonstrate the need for an organisation-wide approach, showing the crucial dependency between successful service delivery and fit for purpose data.

How do we determine which data assets support the outcomes our customers value most?

“We have hundreds of customer-facing digital services that all need data, but we didn’t know which are most valuable to our customers, and the data that they rely upon” Chris reflected.

At the time, DVSA didn’t have a line-of-sight between specific data assets and the activities and outcomes they enabled. This had created a defensive mindset, where the focus was on how poor data created information risk rather than business and customer risk.

Business cases for data were measured by the internal efficiencies they generated, like saving money on software licenses, and not by value to the customer.

Chris and Shirley wanted to change people’s mindsets, helping them see how data affects real-world outcomes. By creating a line-of-sight between outcomes and data, they knew they could prioritise data investments by customer impact.
“We wanted to express the value of data and the work that we do in a language that people understand, a financial language that will help us have better conversations with our peers.”
Shirley Harding, Head of Information Management, Security & Data at DVSA
Driving instructor assessing student
“Our entire purpose of our organisation revolves around a lifetime of safe, and sustainable journeys, a reduction in the number of incidents on the road network and cleaner, more fuel-efficient vehicles.”
Chris Barnes – Head of Data Management at DVSA

How did we help?

Understanding the value of data for DVSA was not about putting a price tag on their data with a view to selling it. The purpose of valuing data in a government agency like DVSA is to provide a common language and understanding around how data drives service delivery and which data matters. This helps people have informed conversations around data management and investment.

With this in mind, we focussed on the value DVSA’s Enforcement function creates for the economy, rather than commercial revenue generation, and the data that enabled that value. We calculated that DVSA’s enforcement activities create £1.3bn for the UK economy, each year, by preventing accidents on UK roads.

To connect this functional-level valuation to data, we conducted a data valuation and a data maturity assessment.

Data Maturity Assessment

We used our tried and tested data maturity survey with 100+ respondents, 236 questions and 14,000 data points, to understand the perspectives of DVSA employees on how the agency manages its data.  

 It captures pain-points and needs, provides an agency-wide view of data management, and gives early warnings of potential issues.

An icon representing data priorities
Data Valuation

We valued each of DVSA’s data assets based on the degree that it supported DVSA’s goals.

We conducted interviews with key people working at DVSA, to determine what activities drive the most value, how important data is to each of those activities, and which data assets are most important to those activities.

“Most people like to say that data is the answer, but they don’t know how. Here, we’re giving people the tools and the vocabulary to figure out how data is important and how it is going to solve their challenges.”
Chris Barnes – Head of Data Management at DVSA

What were the results?

With a new and clearer understanding of their data landscape, DVSA can now have more conversations with the business about their data.

Here are the key outcomes of the project:

Optimise resource allocation

By combining the valuation and maturity assessment, we identified high-value, low-maturity data assets that will help DVSA unlock enormous value for the UK economy.

“The work done has really given us the evidence to know what our priorities are”, said Shirley.

DVSA now know how data enables service delivery, which data is most important to them and their customers, and what capabilities they need to deliver maximum data value.

Bubble chart showing where to prioritise investment in data assets
Changing culture and creating meaningful conversations
Now, Chris and Shirley have meaningful, shared conversations with senior business leaders about how data is performing and what they can do to improve, providing a benchmark from which they can measure improvement and value delivery.
“I think this is where an evidence-based decision-making piece really helps.

When we’re in a room talking about priorities and financial expenditure, I think people are starting to realise that there is an opportunity to bring data into the world of finance and business cases.”
Shirley Harding, Head of Information Management, Security & Data at DVSA

What was it like working with Anmut?

Picture of Shirley Harding of DVSA
Data Maturity Assessment
It was very open and if there was any uncertainty, I could always bring it up and ask questions. The ease of engagement went a long way!”
Head of Information Management, Security & Data at DVSA
Picture of Chris Barnes of DVSA
Data Valuation
“If you work with somebody who has a common understanding and a common passion, then it’s a hell of a lot easier to create something that you know will be impactful. It’s just trust, you know.”
Head of Data Management at DVSA

Ready to discover your data landscape?

A successful data organisation is built on a well-understood data landscape.

It gives you the visibility into the data you have, how mature it is, and how it’s used in your organisation.

Without this foundation, you’re taking shots in the dark. With it, you have the evidence you need to apply focussed, performance-driven changes to your data management practices. Unlocking massive efficiency gains and value.

Contact us, to discover how we can help you with the performance of your data.