Priority two: Strengthen our use of data, analytics and intelligence to improve decision making

In line with community expectations, the emergency management sector will invest in up-to-date technology. We must be able to predict, plan for, and respond in a timely way, to future emergencies. Our data must be secure, meaningful, person-centred and foster community trust.

We will improve our use of data, analytics and intelligence (including forecasting and predictive analysis) to understand hazards and their potential impacts, strengthen our understanding of communities and their needs, improve the quality of our decision making and increase service effectiveness. At all times, we will maintain your security and foster trust in how we receive and use data.

We will improve the way we gather, use, process and share data to inform intelligence

Effective sharing and use of data is critical to analytics and intelligence in emergency management. It allows us to understand what is happening on the ground and direct limited resources to where they are most needed. It’s the foundation of implementing evidence-based decisions and responsive emergency management.

Data is most valuable when it is well structured, available, linked, shared, protected and maintained. The Victorian Government emphasises building systems and processes that simplify data sharing and strengthen interoperability. Our work will be aligned with the government’s Digital Strategy 2021–26 (External link) and we will develop an emergency management sector data strategy with the Victorian Centre for Data Insights (VCDI). Consistent data standards will improve the quality of our data collection and sharing across high value areas and strengthen our capacity to prepare for, and respond to, future emergency management priorities.

Partnerships across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors will enhance our use of data and analytics to build better situational awareness, as well as operational and strategic intelligence capabilities and promote transparency and public trust. We’ll build a sector level picture so we can better understand the technologies we need. With enhanced intelligence, we’ll improve the manner in which we communicate to Victorians, so they have timely, meaningful, usable information that empowers them to share responsibility in an emergency.

We will strengthen the way we use and analyse data to generate enhanced intelligence and drive effective decision making

By itself, data is just facts and statistics. We realise its true value when we process and analyse data to generate intelligence. Only then can it drive better decision making. In a future with escalating and compounding emergencies, an informed approach to analytics will be key to making the best use of our limited resources. The Victorian government will explore opportunities to enhance analytics where the emergency sector faces the greatest need – risk assessments and 24/7 situational awareness and intelligence – so our capabilities are up-to-date, maximise the use of public funds and inform decision making at all levels.

We will focus on improving data and analytics capabilities, especially our ability to generate intelligence at speed and scale, by improving strategic partnerships with industry providers. Connected data will help the right people make well informed and evidence-based decisions, ensuring public value and impact for Victorians.

Using data to inform COVID-19 decision making

In January 2021, EMV established a formal partnership with VCDI to enhance the emergency management sector’s data and analytics capability. Together they co-developed the COVID-19 Decision Support Tool providing the State Control Team with key health metrics via daily automated reports so decisionmakers had access to timely, relevant information. They also delivered the Mobility Forecast Tool which predicted community mobility, enabling planning and allocation of resources to areas of greatest need and delivery of targeted and tailored community messaging.

The partnership is now working on an Emergency Management Sector Data Strategy to strengthen how the sector collects, uses and shares data that supports decision-makers before, during and after emergencies.

Building flood intelligence for timely and tailored community warnings

The 2010–11 floods had a serious impact on over 100 communities. The Floods Review pointed to the value of tailored and timely warnings as an effective community safety measure.

A collaborative approach between the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA), catchment management authorities, local government and VICSES has resulted in an extensive flood intelligence database – ‘FloodZoom’. It collects, stores and presents flood information and means accredited flood analysts can now advise community and infrastructure operators about likely impacts to property and services.

Enhancements to FloodZoom are seeking to capitalise on the ever-increasing availability of real time web-enabled information.

We will collect and use data in a secure manner that maintains privacy and trust, while also enhancing our decision making

Technology offers a powerful way to streamline and improve service delivery. However, as we grasp this opportunity, we must be respectful to our community and delivery partners when sourcing, using and safeguarding information.

The Victorian government will build digital assets, systems and processes that include security and management arrangements to handle personal and sensitive information in a way that does not sacrifice the privacy or trust of communities. All data must be protected from misuse and be operated by a skilled workforce that can ensure asset integrity, while pursuing innovation and data sharing.

Victorians expect and deserve that, when they share their lived experiences, they and their stories will be treated with respect and dignity. Platforms will be socially inclusive and allow for personalisation so they create experiences that help and empower everyone and make it easy to access support, particularly after a loss. By building and operating data systems using a trauma-informed approach we will minimise the need for people to retell difficult experiences or divulge personal details.

Data decisions will be transparent and ethical, to empower Victorians while protecting users, systems and data.