Building and scaling our data science skills

We’re really excited that next month, one of our Data & Insight Analysts, Anna Gibson, will be joining the next cohort on GDS’ Data Accelerator Programme. We’ve heard great things about the programme from previous participants – from Bharath’s blog and from Tom Foster at Warwickshire County Council who shared his experience which was a great help in reminding us to focus down our topic of interest for our application.

From early April, Anna will be spending one day a week at GDS’ offices in Whitechapel working with an experienced data scientist who will mentor her as she works on a project to provide a unified view of the property market in Hackney. The Council has many repositories of data about housing, and a further wealth of data about rented accommodation in the borough is available online. However, we don’t have access to a single, comprehensive view of private renting in the borough.

Anna’s work, both at GDS and back in Hackney day to day, will be focussed on working to create a profile of the rental market in the borough, combining some of our internal Council resources with external data sources – we want to try to use web scraping, image processing and text processing to try and learn more from private rental advertising sites (such as SpareRoom) and from Google Street View, for example.

As well as building Anna’s data science skills directly (and scaling this to the wider team as she shares this work with her Data Analytics team colleagues), we think this work will be a great resource to help us identify Council properties which are being illegally sub-let or to detect properties which should be subject to a House of Multiple Occupation licence and also help us better understand social inclusion in Hackney as we get a better view of transience of residents in certain areas.

The programme runs for 3 months until July 2019 and Anna will be sharing her experience for others to benefit from, as the work develops.

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