The Step Data Service

There are two huge challenges when it comes to mapping the UK’s services: there’s an awful lot of them and they change fast. But Step has the solution...

The usual approach for web directories is to invite service providers to maintain their own listings. The problem is that with hundreds of directories in existence, people rarely have the time to keep on top of this. Most directory listing end up being little more than a few sentences, written potentially years ago.
When you start mapping a lot of services, another significant question rises: which of these services is best? Existing directories can't tell you which services are trusted by local professionals and charity workers, and usually only capture very crude data on who a service is suitable for.
The result? It can be very hard to know which option is appropriate for a client, and whether the service is still even running.
Our solution

We’ve taken a revolutionary approach using a mix of artificial intelligence, feedback from e-shots & our users, and our team of researchers.

Web scraping
Under the bonnet, Step has an artificial intelligence system that scans the web to find the most up-to-date publicly available information. The system intelligently interprets this information to build a rich mapping of any service it finds: from the issues it helps, who’s eligible, to which demographics it's best suited for.
Any organisation using Step can also upload their existing signposting resources or directories into Step, or report an omission or error. This allows us to fill in gaps in local knowledge where services don’t have a web presence. But it also enables sharing expertise in a local area, as we can find out, for example, who the local mental health experts trust, and use that to influence Step's recommendations.
Wherever the information comes from, our team of researchers are working around the clock to review everything that Step finds or is uploaded, ensuring an unsurpassed level of data quality.

How we keep data up to date

After Step first finds a service on the web, and our research team has reviewed the mapping the artificial intelligence created, Step will then automatically recheck that website periodically. If the information changes – say a new service is launched, or an existing one closes its doors, our team will automatically be notified to investigate the changes and update service information.

There are further checks to ensure all services Step recommends are currently active. Local users can report an out-of-date service with just two clicks, and our e-shot campaigns also help identify out-of-date information. Whilst it's not possible to ensure perfection, our multifaceted strategy gives us the most accurate data available today.

What does all this mean for me?

In a nutshell: our ability to map huge numbers of services at an unprecedented level of detail, allows Step to offer great quality advice. Rather than offering a generic list, Step can compare your client’s profile and needs to a vast array of possible options, and in seconds to pick the ones that are best suited to their situation.

Using Step's data service
Laptop Upload form Preference form Service information page


Many organisations already have resources they use for signposting - which might be anything from a word document to a full blown web directory. As part of the onboarding process, we can upload these into Step, where it will compared against our national database. If there are services you have which we don't already have listed, these will be created by our research team.

Control over data

Whilst there’s huge benefit having access to our shared pool of services, there may be organisations you have referral agreements with, and others you don’t want to refer to. In Step, you have control to set your own search preferences, and set custom text to show in listings.

Requesting changes

If you provide a service, or want to report an error with a local service, Step provides an intuitive process to let our team know.
Want to try Step?

Whether you're big, small or tiny, Step is for you. You can try Step for free by following this link:

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