Yooralla Data CO-OP

As the digital era progresses, data analytics advances further, making machine learning, artificial intelligence and other data tools commonplace in commercial businesses and government agencies. While organisations within these sectors thrive with new data capabilities, we worry that the Not-For-Profit (NFP) sector will be left behind due to their more limited capacity to undertake  complex data analytics. This has the potential to impact the ability of NFPs to use data to understand and then communicate their social impact.

Yooralla is a disability services and support provider based in Victoria, Australia. A long-established NFP, Yooralla seeks to provide quality, sustainable and flexible services,  to create equal opportunities and to empower people with disabilities to live the life they choose1.

To enable Yooralla and other NFPs to better harness their data to reveal their impacts and values, and employ good data practices, Swinburne’s Social Innovation Research Institute partnered with the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation (LMCF) to deliver the Data for Good Collaboration2. With a focus on developing the soft skills needed to navigate the evolving data landscape, we facilitated  a series of interactive co-design workshops and  created a suite of  data capacity-building webinars to promote data literacy amongst our participating NFPs. Using the Social Data Analytics (SoDA) Lab’s Data CO-OP methodology -  a collaborative approach to  data sharing using a combination of private and public datasets - our team of data scientists worked together  with Yooralla to explore  organisational and  publicly available datasets to co-create data insights and visualisations.

For Yooralla the following publicly accessible datasets provided valuable insights: the 2018 Commuting Distance by Personal Characteristics, Health and Disability (ASGS and LGA, 2011, 2014-2018) and Population and People (ASGS and LGA, 2011, 2014-2019) datasets from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data collection, and the 2020 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare dataset. The analysis of these publicly accessible datasets shows that in 2015, around 17 percent of Australians reported some form of disability. Secondly, in 2018, 1.1 million Australians aged 15-64 ( around 53%) with disability participated in the labour force compared to 84.1% of people without disability. In addition,  exploring data related to health insurance in 2018 shows that 32 percent of Australians reported access to private health insurance, meaning that just under 70 per cent of Australians continued to rely solely on our publicly-funded health system. Access to such insights provide strategic value and assist in better planning.

Using the Data CO-OP methodology, we have created a hybrid dataset combining Yooralla’s private datasets containing workforce demographics - including the distances  commuted to work - with ABS datasets to produce new data-driven insights for Yooralla. Data visualisations revealed that even though 10 percent of Yooralla’s employees lived and worked in the same suburb, most of them commute 29 km (one way) on average to work. The feedback from Yooralla demonstrates that  combining datasets from different organisational areas offered strategic insights beyond ‘business analytics’. Participation in the Data for Good Collaboration enabled Yooralla to build greater data  awareness within the organisation while also creating space for growth and internal discussions about working differently with data.


[1] https://www.yooralla.com.au
[2] https://apo.org.au/node/312198