Welcome to the latest edition of the GSS Newsletter
- Last week the Prime Minister announced her intention to hold an early General Election on Thursday 8 June 2017. The Cabinet Office has also now issued guidance for all Civil Servants ahead of the election. Section K of the guidance refers specifically to statistical activities. If you have any queries, please contact your Head of Profession in the first instance.
- GSS International Statistics Dashboard for April includes International Economic Statistics Conference and the UN World Data Forum.
- Latest careers news including exciting loan opportunity in Data Analytics and Statistics with DCLG.
- Ofsted hosted the South West and Wales Analyst Group biannual conference on 18th April. The day was a great success with talk from ONS, Welsh Government and Ofsted as well as a update on the changes to the Code of Practice and the new Data Science Campus. The event was formally opened by Helen Barugh, Ofsted’s chief statistician and the key note speech was delivered by Bradley Simmons, regional director for the South West. If you missed the event, or want to remind yourself of the content of the day, head over to the South West and Wales Analysts Group community site and bag your SWWAG!
- The next GSS Sharing Seminar being held at BEIS on 11 May
- The Learning Academy has produced its first directory of learning. Detailing the range of learning provided through ONS, the directory identifies activities specifically aimed at the development of the statistical profession.
Pre-election secondment opportunity with Full Fact
An exciting opportunity has arisen for GSS Fast Stream Statisticians (not currently on the centrally managed scheme) to develop their skills through a six week placement at Full Fact, the UK’s independent fact checking charity, in the run up to the General Election on the 8th of June.
Successful applicants will get the chance to work at the centre of events at this critical time, providing rapid response and background information for the public and media on any figures used in coverage and debates.
This is a fantastic opportunity that is fully supported by John Pullinger the National Statistician who says:
“I encourage departments and statistical Heads of Profession to make every effort to support their statisticians in volunteering for this valuable experience.”
For more details including how to apply please see the full article on the GSS website.
Data Dive @ ONS
ONS & Data Kind are holding Wales’ first DataDive on Saturday, 20th and Sunday, 21st May, at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), Newport!
A DataDive is a high energy, marathon-style event where charities work alongside teams of volunteer data scientists, developers, and designers to use data to gain insight into their programs, the communities they serve and more.
DataKind UK is a charity that solves tough social challenges through data science. They help social sector organisations benefit from advances in data science so they can make better decisions and have greater social impact.
Staff from across the civil service are welcome to sign up, as long as you can get yourself to ONS Newport for the weekend! To be able to pull off this ambitious event, we need you to donate your time, skills, and energy to help two fantastic #dataforgood projects, with charities SafeLives and Llamau.
For more information, see our EventBrite page or contact Simon Weakley, ONS Big Data Team or the ONS Researchers, Analysts, & Statisticians committee.
Reflections from the GSS Northern Conference
On Thursday 23 March 2017, over 150 GSS delegates, representing more than ten different government departments, met in Leeds for the GSS Northern Conference.
Held at the Marriott Hotel and attended by colleagues coming from York, Leeds, Sheffield, Liverpool, Darlington, Newcastle and London, the main aim of the event was to focus on the following three key themes:
- Influencing – how we can apply statistics day to day, using statistics when working for internal/external customers, possible use of statistics during the EU Exit, how statistics can be used for organisations recently joining the GSG
- Innovation – what is data science, use of technology, good practice of data sharing/open data
- Community & Careers – focus on relatively new statisticians, career development (outside London), switching departments, and working across the GSS and with other professionals.
John Bilverstone, a statistician for the Rural Payments Agency and part of the organising committee, shares his thoughts on the 2017 GSS Northern Conference.
Goodbye to old friends and hello to new
The Neighbourhood Statistics and Data Explorer tools are to be decommissioned and will close as public facing services on the 12 May 2017.
Both services have played a significant role in disseminating the 2001 and 2011 Censuses respectively, and importantly, they were both innovative tools that delivered customisation and visualisation of statistical data in more flexible methods to our users. User insights captured during the development of the ONS website provided a strong steer from users want more and better and simpler access to data. The two existing platforms, as they stand, do not and can not meet these needs without significant investment.
It’s time to move on and look at new opportunities and, as a first step, this comes in the form of the data discovery project run within Digital Publishing. The alpha service has been launched and a high fidelity beta is in the pipeline for 17/18. This project is heavily focussed on the needs of the external users. There are also benefits of rationalising the different online service provisions to the users by implementing a fully integrated data service on the main ONS website.
We have, and will continue, to carry out due diligence within the current user base to aid a smooth transition to the new model. Contact Darren Barnes for further information.
GSS Presentation and Dissemination symposium
June 30th sees the return of the annual GSS Presentation and Dissemination symposium which last year saw Lord Willets and Sir David Spiegelhalter speak.
The event which aims to bring together people from across the GSS to inspire them to improve how we present our statistics is a great opportunity to network and learn about developments that are happening from both within the GSS and outside.
This year the theme is communication with impact and the morning will see keynote speakers talking about how to present better for policy making. The afternoon will focus on communicating for the general public.
Places are limited to 200 and it will be held in the BEIS conference centre. Most places will be allocated via departments representatives of the GSS Presentation and Dissemination committee but if you would like a slot some spaces are available by e-mailing direct to email@example.com.
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 June
- 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: firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.
- 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: email@example.com. Further details are available here.
- MSc in Data Analytics for Government
- Growing and building the capability of the workforce across government remains a key role of the ONS Learning Academy and the Data Science Campus. Delivering a Masters level qualification has always been a requirement for professional career development. Working in partnership, the Learning Academy and Data Science Campus have successfully appointed, following a competitive bidding process, University College London, Oxford Brookes University and Southampton University to be part of a Framework to deliver the MSc in Data Analytics for Government. Customer Guidance will be made available shortly to support the use of the Framework, which will contain information on each of the University courses and instructions for enrolment.
- Further MSc routes have also been identified by the ONS Learning Academy to support a broad geographical spread of the workforce. For more information on the range of options available, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. A new bidding process is planned for 2018, aimed at expanding the list of MSc providers in the Framework.
- MSc in Official Statistics
- The MSc in Official Statistics was jointly developed by the University of Southampton and the GSS to cover the core skills and knowledge needed by professional government statisticians. The course formed the primary Masters programme for statistical and analytical development across government from 1999 – 2017. The programme has since been replaced by the MSc in Data Analytics, under a Framework agreement.
- Please note that we are currently awaiting a decision by Southampton University as to whether the MSc in Official Statistics will continue to run (i.e. enrolment onto this programme to continue indefinitely) – we will update you as soon as we hear anything. To note however that we are bound by our commercial rules to promote the MSc in Data Analytics for Government as the primary MSc course through this website.
- Those who are already enroled onto this programme, will be able to continue with their studies through to completion. Those who are looking to enrol for Continuing Professional Development (one-off modules for CPD) are able to continue to apply through Southampton University.
- For the full suite of modules, please see here.
- To make an enquiry for CPD or to make a booking, please email email@example.com
GSS Blog Roll
- National Statistician’s Blog: John’s latest blog ‘Better statistics: better decisions – ready for the next year of delivery‘
- Data Science Campus – Last month saw the official launch of the Data Science Campus at ONS’s headquarters in Newport. For the latest update on its activities visit the Data Science Campus blog or follow on twitter @DataSciCampus
Ideas and contributions on existing or new content are encouraged. Your views are important to us. Please submit your content for the May newsletter by Wednesday 24 May 2017.
The next edition of the newsletter will be published on Wednesday 31 May 2017.
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