Circle Case study

How CACI support British Red Cross identify those in need of support

Understanding vulnerability from data insight to target effective aid

Company background

The British Red Cross was founded in 1870. The charity’s most important value is kindness. It helps anyone, anywhere in the UK and around the world, to get the support they need if crisis strikes.

The British Red Cross has seen very high demand for its services in the UK during the coronavirus outbreak. Since the pandemic started, the Red Cross has undertaken a huge response to help the most vulnerable individuals and communities in the UK, reaching over 1.5 million people with food, medicine, cash, emotional support and other help and advice. Thousands of extra volunteers have joined the charity, helping it to support those who are suffering all kinds of hardship and distress because of the situation.

Why they chose us

  • The British Red Cross needed to concentrate its resources on different people and make sure that its services were directed to meet the greatest needs.
  • CACI’s Vulnerability Indicators had the potential to help the charity identify specific local areas where there was likely to be a need for charity help and support in the pandemic.

What they use it for

  • CACI offered The British Red Cross a three-month trial of its Vulnerability Indicators. After validating the potential of the data during the trial period, the charity took out a subscription.
  • The British Red Cross used CACI’s Vulnerability Indicators to index UK households in every neighbourhood (or MSOA – Middle Layer Super Output Area). Their modelling revealed locations where people were most likely to be in need of support, based on either their clinical, financial, socioeconomic and digital vulnerability as well as wider health and wellbeing.
  • Information that showed the prevalence of single-person households in an area combined with the Vulnerability Indicators was used to augment food vulnerability mapping. The British Red Cross identified households with limited access to third party and community support, creating a priority need for volunteer engagement.


  1. Vulnerability modelling now enables the British Red Cross to deploy volunteers in the right places, meet emerging needs and advocate for targeted financial and practical support for the most vulnerable people at this time.
  2. By defining areas where financial vulnerability is greatest, The British Red Cross can apply local knowledge about available support or facilities. Volunteers can help individuals and families access these. If they’re insufficient, vulnerability model insight can help community organisations and charities make a strong case for grant or lottery funding to help improve, using granular data evidence that relates to a specific area.
  3. Where digital vulnerability is a key issue, such as for people living alone without technology skills or facilities, the British Red Cross can reach out to householders using leaflet drops or doorstep visits to offer assistance and information.
  4. The British Red Cross has also made its vulnerability and resilience modelling and analysis freely available via public web portals.

The impact is going to continue for a long time. There will be people in financial hardship for the first time next year, because they have lost their jobs or their savings have run out. There are three million people who are not entitled to any of the current government support packages. Some of them will certainly be in desperate need of advice and both financial and emotional support. We will be doing more qualitative scenario planning and focusing on anticipatory work, to meet emerging future needs.

Dr Matt Thomas, Head of Strategic Insight and Foresight,
The British Red Cross


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