Welcome to the latest edition of the GSS Newsletter
- The Good Practice Team have set up a trial GSS Slack community to provide an online space where GSS members can collaborate more effectively. Read more and join the community!
- What do users think of GSS social media channels? First look at the results of the recent social media survey on the Good Practice Team (GPT) blog
- “Are you an enthusiastic, responsive & innovative person looking for a new challenge? The GPT are looking for two Good Practice Advisors to join us in playing a key role to promote and embed Good Practice across the GSS”.
- Registration for the 22nd GSS Methodology Symposium will be open on the 10th of April. Places are limited so book early to take advantage of the early-bird registration fee. Full details about the theme, keynote & guest speakers and registration procedure available on the GSS website.
- The Office for Statistics Regulation would like to thank everyone who has contributed their views and comments on the Code of Practice Stocktake exposure draft report over the past couple of months. On the basis of your feedback they are continuing to develop a refreshed Code of Practice, with the aim to formally consult on any changes to the Code later this year. In the meantime if you have any questions of comments just email the Code of Practice Programme team at email@example.com.
- The GSS Presentation and Dissemination Committee (PDC) met on 20 March 2017. Discussions focussed on doing more across the GSS for the Inquiring Citizen (inspired by a talk from Ola Rosling earlier in the year); planning for the PDC symposium in London on 30 June 2017; and a review of PDC achievements in 2016/17. PDC’s 2017/18 work programme will include new actions to understand and tackle barriers to innovation and have a focus on understanding user perceptions and communicating with impact.
- “There is still (a little) time to put in your nomination for the RSS Excellence in Official Statistics Award 2017– closing date 31 March 2017.”
GSS Devolution good practice guidance
There have been many developments over the past two years in the devolution process. The Scotland Act 2015 has devolved a number of new powers to the Scottish Parliament, particularly regarding taxation and welfare. The Wales Act, having received Royal Assent in January, will also lead to greater autonomy in Wales on a number of issues, including the devolution of income tax powers.
Devolution has an impact on our work across the GSS. Working with colleagues across departments and governments plays a vital role in ensuring policy makers are best informed through better statistics, to the benefit of all. It is in this light that the UK Government recently signed a Concordat on Statistics with the Devolved Administrations which sets out how producers of official statistics across the UK will work together
Producers of official statistics across the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations all have a role to play in delivering better statistics. We need to be collaborative and allow time to gather, and consider, the views of counterparts in other administrations. Attached is a short guidance document about devolution and the Government Statistical Service. It contains some of key points to consider when producing official statistics, and best practice advice for working collaboratively across administrations, including a case study.
If you have any queries, please feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Develop your skills through a short-term secondment to FullFact, the UK’s independent factchecking charity. FullFact publish factchecks and secure corrections, championing a culture where public figures are held to higher standards of transparency and accountability.
Government analysts are offered an exciting opportunity to work for FullFact for a three month placement – successful applicants will get the chance to work at the heart of the organisation contributing to vital factchecking work. Placements are available from April onwards, applicants will be based at FullFact’s London offices for the duration of the placement.
A case study from Louisa McCutcheon, a Statistician from the Department of Health, talks about her valuable experience on secondment at Full Fact.
Applying – Secondments to FullFact are funded by the applicant’s home department, so analysts must obtain their line-manager’s permission to apply. Please see the attached document on how to apply – for more information please contact GSS.Career.Strategy@ons.gsi.gov.uk
Transforming How We Release Statistics
Tom Davies from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has posted an article about the various ways that DWP disseminate their stats to meet the range of user needs:
DWP’s Client Statistics Branch have developed a variety of formats for releasing our statistics to cover the wide range of our user’s needs. This article is a chance to tell you about these different formats. We’re particularly excited about the new interactive statistics visualisations that we’ve released – we’ve included some links at the end of the article and we’re keen to get your feedback on these.
DWP Client Statistics are responsible for around 60 Official Statistics releases each year. These cover the high profile Welfare Reform Agenda (e.g. Universal Credit and Benefit Cap statistics) and areas of wide public interest (e.g. National Insurance Number Registrations). We’ve developed an understanding of the wide range of users of these statistics and as a result, transformed how we release statistics to meet the users’ needs.
This includes innovative approaches like interactive data visualisations, our Stat Xplore tool that allows users to create bespoke tables and our newly designed first releases that tell the key messages.
See here for the full article which includes links to interactive statistics visualisations.
South West and Wales Interdepartmental Conference
Following on from a successful conference at ONS last October, Ofsted will be hosting the fifth South West and Wales Interdepartmental Conference in Bristol on Tuesday 18th April.
The theme of the day will be ‘The Analytical Journey – moving from raw data to telling a story’. A rough agenda can be found here
All departments in the area (ONS, Welsh Government, MoD, Companies House, Ofsted, Estyn, IPO and BIS) are invited to attend, so this conference will give you the opportunity to understand a bit more about the analytical work of other departments in the area. There will be four presentations from ONS, Welsh Government, Ofsted and MoD (this list is subject to change).
There will also be activities to allow you to purposefully network with members of other government departments who conduct analytical work. You can access the presentations from all the previous conferences on the GSS website.
Please register your interest in attending by speaking to your local rep or emailing James.Twist@ofsted.gov.uk You will be emailed soon after the deadline to confirm if you have been allocated a space.
Please note there is no cost to your department for this event, with transport and food also provided but you must obtain line manager permission before registering your interest.
Training & Events
- The GSS Capability Team is pleased to announce the Short Course Programme for 2016-17 (available here). This programme delivers courses that underpin robust analysis and data science in government, providing an overview of various statistical and analytical techniques and includes information on how and why to choose the appropriate methodology.
- These courses below are on offer in April/May
- Data Visualisation L1 26/04/17 Newport
- Small Area Estimation L2 07/06/17 Newport
- Data Linkage L1 08/06/17 Titchfield
- Seasonal Adjustment (Day 1 L1, Day 2 L2) L1/2 14&15/06/17 Newport
- Statistical Disclosure Control L1 20/06/17 London
- Index Numbers L2 21&22/06/17 Newport
- Data Visualisation L1 28/06/17 Newport
- To apply for any of these courses, please complete an application form. For any further information, please email the GSS Statistical Capability Team at the following address: email@example.com
- The GSS Data Science Learning Curriculum has been launched, outlining new opportunities to strengthen your Data Science skills. The Learning Academy at ONS have purchased seats on the online educational environment Datacamp giving premium access to the courses. Members of the GSS can apply for a seat from the GSS team to boost data science capability across the GSS.
- This opportunity is open to GSS members of all professional backgrounds to build your coding and programming knowledge. Courses on the platform include Introduction to R and Python, Cleaning Data, Statistics in R and R for SAS, SPSS and STATA users. Places are “loaned” to you like a library book.
- You can access a wealth of Data Science training options via the Government Statistical Service (GSS) Learning Curriculum. The evolving Learning Academy Data Science learning pathway shows the learning offer from raising awareness through to expert level.
Courses available to members of the GSS in London:
- Raising Awareness
- Intro to Coding in R – 10 April 2017 9.30-16.30 at ONS, Drummond Gate, London. Book here. This is a one day classroom taught course that introduces coding in R. No prior knowledge is required. London.
- Awareness of Python in Statistics – This is a series of 6 x 1 hr courses that showcase via slides how to apply Python in Statistics. This is not a computer based/applied course. The sessions run as a series: Introductory (1 hr); Data Analysis (1 hr); Regression (1 hr); Data Cleaning and Classifying (1 hr); Data Visualisation (1 hr); Machine Learning (1 hr). London. Dates to be announced.
- Application of R in Statistics – 11 April 2017 10:00- 16:00 Meeting Room 3. To book a place. This one day classroom based course will use R to clean, sort and analyse data. This is a computer based session for the application of R. Pre-requisite: Intro to Coding in R.
- The 2017 European Statistical Training Programme (ESTP) catalogue is now available. ESTP deliver a programme of courses providing statisticians the opportunity to participate in international training courses, workshops and seminars at postgraduate level. Please note all applications for these courses should be submitted through the UK ESTP contact point: firstname.lastname@example.org. Further details are available here.
- Following a review of the current MSc in Official Statistics, the GSS Capability team in partnership with the GSS, has developed an outline for a new Masters in Data Analytics for Government. We will share this with you as soon as the tender process has commenced.
- The tender process will run open on 1st Dec 2016 and will invite bids from all UK Universities by 31st Jan. A new procurement model will be used whereby more than one University will be held on a list of ‘Preferred Suppliers’, providing a choice to individuals as to which University to opt for. This will open up the accessibility to learning at the Masters level across government.
- New modules have been included, which cover data science skills, including:
- Programming for Data Analytics
- Machine Learning
- Data Mining
- NB – The MSc in Official Statistics will continue to run at Southampton University for those students who are already enrolled onto the programme. Some students may be able to transfer their credit points from Southampton to one of the newly selected Universities to continue with their studies. This will however depend on each University’s rules for the transfer of CATS points, and we have requested this information as part of the tender process.
GSS Blog Roll
- National Statistician’s Blog: John’s latest blog ‘Clearly serving the public good‘
- GSS Data Blog – “Contemplate, germinate, formulate – GSS discovery project, what comes next? ‘the latest on the GSS Data Discovery project.
- GSS Staff Blog: Amy Williams’ Private Office Blog – A Day in the Life.
- Wider Reading – Latest Diversity blog on International Womens’ Day, and Latent Class Analysis – a cluster analysis technique.
Ideas and contributions on existing or new content are encouraged. Your views are important to us. Please submit your content for the April newsletter by Wednesday 19 April 2017.
The next edition of the newsletter will be published on Wednesday 26 April 2017.
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