March Newsletter 2024

Blog Post: March 2024 Newsletter

Happy springtime and a belated Happy 2024!

It might just be me, but that felt like the longest, coldest and wettest winter ever. Consequently and despite the inevitable influx of holidaying folks to the south coast, I find myself yearning for lighter and warmer days. In the words of Virginia Woolf (your author is currently wading through Mrs Dalloway) “As summer neared, as the evening lengthened there came to the wakeful, the hopeful, walking the beach, stirring the pool….”

Speaking of long times, 2024 is a big year for Oscar as it marks 2 anniversaries:

1 - 25 Years since Oscar was founded

2 - 40 Years since our lovely database came into existence.

A whistle-stop tour of this being:

1984 (yep, very Orwellian) 2 Local Govt officers left Oxfordshire Council and started - with milk crates and benches in the attic - a small company collecting names and addresses of senior officials for inter Govt communication and the odd commercial user. Despatched on printed labels via motorcycle courier.

Skipping forward past being the first UK data company to supply data on floppy disk and all the way to 1997 when your humble author joined the company to head up research, founding Oscar when the current owners wished to retire, completing a take-over in 1999 (#feelin'old).

The subsequent 25 years have been - to quote that most proffered metaphorical idiom - quite the “journey”. From bedroom to office, 5 people to 25. Global, National and local Political, economic and social change. Many iterations of sites, software and solutions. Working with the largest Government organisations, Charities and Suppliers (some still regulars that predate Oscar) - alongside our amazing team has all been - and remains - a privilege and (almost always) a pleasure.

So how then does one mark this milestone - well, we are planning a few internal events this year and - of course - a front and centre mention in this very newsletters. But, more importantly; the true representation and embodiment of the passing of time has been encapsulated in the form of…..a mug.

That’s probably enough about our company for the moment, so on to things that may in fact be useful to you in the usual format:


Following a Welsh Central Government restructure earlier in the year (and - of course - a new First Minister) all changes are reflected in the system.

Feb is Schools focus months and much has been done around structures and key data points. Too much to mention here, but perhaps most notably over 6000 School attributes have been updated or added.

We’re gearing up for the Local Elections - which will include a relatively modest 2000 seats or so up for election as well - of course - as a chunk of boundary changes - and the national elections - whenever those may follow. The latter also includes quite a change to the Constituency boundaries - should keep the geo-data team nice and busy.

Meantime the usual array of changes across the database from the past 90 days are summarised below for you:



As part of our continued focus on relationships between entities and to try and ensure complete coverage of those organisations within the world of Public Services - esp as service delivery continues to be pushed outside of the government/commissioning bodies we have been collecting the details for Local Authority Trading Companies (LATCOs) and other private companies with primary control of one or many public bodies. To date over 1000 have been added and we will be continuing the trawl as we go.

As mentioned briefly in the last newsletter, Oscar BOT has arrived and has been very busy - if you’re a current Oscar client, may very well have popped up in your inbox offering help and updates. He (it?) is part of our ongoing foray into intelligent automation (IA not AI) - having initially focused on a ‘smart’ assistant for account and user management, we are now shifting our focus to the research effort and following significant investment in time and systems over the past couple of years we are anticipating the benefits for data coverage and depth should be significant.

To close off this section, we have two recent blog posts that may be of interest:

A summary of the proposed merger and devolution landscape across Local Government in 2024 from our Head of Data. View full post here

A brief summary looking at the current structural and commissioning landscape across the NHS in England for spring 2024. View full post here


As many will have seen, our new PSN platform has been live for some time - the old version will soon be decommissioned and all traffic pointed to the new site. So should you wish to bid farewell, now is the time!

Here is a picture of the freshly minted anniversary mugs:


If you would like your very own Oscar Mug, just drop us a line and say hello (or indeed whatever you wish) as well as your address (sadly we don’t all have 3d printers yet) and we’ll get one in the post to you.

So, in summary, here’s to both the past quarter of the century and the next 25 years - technology sure has moved on in the past decades and we look forward to continuing to leverage it for our users benefit and - most importantly - continue the human relationships we have internally and with our users that make turning up in the mornings worthwhile!

Meanwhile, thank you for being there and here’s to summer!

James and team at Oscar


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