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#001 - Our first newsletter

Updated: Sep 7, 2021


Data to Empower

Using data to empower professionals who support people experiencing poverty


Welcome to our first newsletter, coming out in March but covering our work during the last few months of 2020 (a year we’ll never forget!).

We spent the later part of last year supporting our clients to help professionals working through the pandemic. We are proud of the work we collaborated on and hope that you find the updates below of interest.

It’s no secret that COVID-19 has changed the way we all work and in some cases the type of work we do. It has also thrust data visualisation (and its importance) into the public spotlight, as a critical tool to communicate the various facets of the pandemic.



In October a new version of the London Housing Foundation Atlas was launched. We added new analysis on health services and GLA funding of services for single people experiencing homelessness in London.

For those interested in technology we also moved the Atlas from Tableau Public to JavaScript. Tableau worked efficiently during the design phase, but due to the complex nature of the analysis we found it becoming increasingly slow and unstable. The new version is significantly quicker, easier to update, and opens up new possibilities for future versions.

Upcoming work in the homelessness sector:

In early 2021 we have two exciting projects launching. One is a further round of updates to the Atlas, where we expect to focus on the impact of the pandemic on service provision. The second is working with Homeless Link to redesign the data on their website due to the change in homelessness statutory duties.


Welfare and Benefits

In December a new version of Policy in Practice’sLow Income Family Tracker (LIFT) platform was launched.

The tool allows councils to see how individual households are impacted by policy changes, now and in the future. They will use the information to identify the most vulnerable families, target support to them, and track the changes.

Several new features and performance improvements were made to this tracker. This includes highlighting groups particularly vulnerable to the pandemic and allowing councils to target households in food or fuel poverty.

We also put a free tool to explore Indices of Multiple Deprivation live on the Policy in Practice website.

Upcoming work in the welfare sector:

We are continuing to work with Policy in Practice, who have more great features on their LIFT Roadmap. We will also be releasing a new version of the Living Standards Index for London, which will have information on the impact of the pandemic on low-income Londoners.



Illustrating Impact has worked in various capacities for our client, Right to Succeed, since 2016. At that time they had a team of three and have now grown to around 30 staff. Being part of this growth has been incredibly rewarding. However, the time has come to hand over the reins to their new Senior Analyst, Rita Pilkington. We have spent the last few months of 2020 working with Rita as she gets started.

We wish Rita all the best and look forward to seeing her role and the insights team at Right to Succeed evolve. We will of course continue to support wherever we can.

Upcoming work in the education sector:

We are currently working with ImpactEd on their Lockdown Lessons report. It is a national research project to understand how the current situation is influencing pupil wellbeing and learning, particularly for the most vulnerable groups. It is the biggest project of its kind, with nearly four million individual questions answered by over 60,000 pupils.


Our People

In addition to his ‘day job’, our Director, Tom Shirley, completed his first virtual semester at Harvard (Sept to Dec 2020).

Tom is studying for a Masters to improve his knowledge of how policy is designed and delivered, to improve the depth of work Illustrating Impact can offer. Tom is grateful for the support he is receiving from the Cyril Taylor Foundation, via a Fulbright Scholarship, which has made this study possible. He has now moved to Boston (with his cat!) and is looking forward to next semester. Whilst studying Tom will continue to work out of the US, returning to the UK in 2022. Until then, it’s business as usual!

In other news, we’re excited to welcome Diane Bartholomew to the team!

Diane’s background is diverse - she has worked within an educational data consultancy and also has extensive experience of marketing within the UK film industry.

She is working with us on a part-time basis to manage our business support and marketing operations. Diane is working on creating content to show everything we are working on so please follow our socials if you don’t already!

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