What is the project about?

The Access to Community Support and Services (ACSS) project is an 18-month pilot commissioned by NHS Dorset. It aims to create a shared data set of local services using the Open Referral UK framework; a data standard which sets a common language.

The shared data set is intended to support local directories, by having accurate, up-to-date, and regularly assured community support and services information in one place. Organisations then have the opportunity to utilise this across multiple directories, websites or apps.

Our hope is for a county-wide shared resource that would save time invested by organisations to maintain accurate data and increase awareness of existing services.

What challenges is the project looking to address?

The project specifically focusses on supporting those with severe mental illness (SMI) to access information about what is available in their local community.

Recent NHS Dorset research shows that SMI patients struggle to access community support due to outdated or inconsistent online information.

Since 60% of suicides occur at home or in the community, community support could assist in  identifying early risks and provide help before statutory services are needed.

What is CAN’s role?

Community Action Network are responsible for the project management of the pilot, having already been involved in supporting the SMI population. CAN are utilising their local knowledge, connections, and sector understanding to help demonstrate the benefits of adopting a shared data set.

If the approach is taken forward beyond the pilot, the aim is to encourage funding for the local voluntary sector to maintain the data being collected and stored.

How can I be part of the project?

We are beginning to populate the data set for organisations offering services to the local community in Bournemouth, Christchurch & Poole, and wider Dorset.

Get in touch with the project team at servicefinder@can100.org

What is Open Referral UK?

Open Referral UK have defined a standard data structure for information about services, providing a consistent way of gathering and using data. Since February 2022, Open Referral UK has been an internationally recognised standard and its use is recommended for all UK public systems in NHS, Local Government and Department of Education.


Read: Community Wellbeing across Dorset

How can we register our services?

A overview of the simple options for you to register services or sessions as part of the project.

Read: Community Wellbeing across Dorset

How is the data handled?

A summary of the approach to handling data and the detailed supporting documents.

Read: Community Wellbeing across Dorset

Frequently Asked Questions

A regularly updated set of questions and answers about the project.