Welcome to the latest edition of the GSS Newsletter
- John Pullinger has announced that, with effect from 01 July 2017, pre-release access to official statistics produced by ONS will end. You can view John’s letter to Sir David Norgrove and Sir David’s response on the UK Statistics Authority website.
- The Royal Statistical Society Statistical Excellence Awards ceremony, which will be followed by the Society’s summer drinks reception, will take place on Wednesday 12 July at 6:30pm at the Royal Statistical Society, 12 Errol Street, London, EC1Y 8LX.
- An opportunity to help define households and inform future research. Although definitions have changed, the concept of households have always been fundamental to the census and social statistics in the UK. The increasing move to the use of administrative data and other sources brings obvious opportunities – but also challenges in defining households. It will be of interest to anyone who uses or cares about household statistics or is interested in the future of the statistical system. Register via Eventbrite or contact email@example.com for more information.
- Do you want to play an integral role delivering insight from data using statistical and data science techniques at the heart of government? If so then a data scientist role could be for you! We will be receiving applications for Data Scientist roles from Monday 03 July.
- Only a few places left for the GSS Methodology Symposium on 12 July. The early bird fee of £125 has been extended to cover all remaining delegate places available (instead of the standard £200). The full programme is available on the GSS website.
- The GSS Careers led Data Scientist Degree Apprenticeship has been given the green light for development by the Institute of Apprenticeships and Chief Civil Service People Officer.
- The Office for Statistics Regulation’s consultation on the draft ‘Code of Practice for Statistics’ will begin on 5 July and run to 5 October. We have received a number of requests for seminars to departments, to explain our ideas about the refreshed Code. If you would like to arrange a session – a presentation by us followed by an opportunity for a Q&A – please email Penny Babb.
Statistics for a Global Britain
On Tuesday 13 June, the UK Statistics Authority’s Central Policy Secretariat hosted an event combining the quarterly meetings of the GSS Heads of Profession and the Office for National Statistics Senior Civil Service. The event was a great opportunity to collaborate and think about the bigger picture, with attendees and presenters bringing a vast amount of experience and expertise together in one room.
Attendees got the chance to hear and contribute to a panel discussion featuring Baroness Prashar, Lord Sharkey and Lord Hannay. Moderated by Will Moy of Full Fact, the peers covered a range of policy issues and how statistics can inform them. It was clear that the panel felt better statistics on migration were a particular priority and they challenged the room to make quick progress with this.
Next up was a ‘Manifesto Hack’ exercise, facilitated by Nigel Campbell of the Cabinet Implementation Unit. Small teams tackled five different manifesto commitments from the elected Government – migration, housing, trade, mental health, and the national living wage – and considered what the evidence needs were to understand and implement these commitments and measure performance.
The afternoon started with a presentation on Discovering the GSS Data Landscape, in which Laura Dewis, Chief Publishing Officer for the ONS, outlined the work she and her team have been doing to improve the way users access our statistics.
Following this, the event’s keynote speaker, Yusuf Murangwa of the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda, gave the audience an honest and insightful speech on how he and his department had overcome the challenges of meeting demand from decision makers. Yusuf’s speech was a reminder that no matter the context, statisticians are expected to uphold the highest standards of precision and comprehensiveness to allow decision makers to make informed choices.
The National Statistician, John Pullinger, had three key takeaways from the event: 1. This is an important moment for us to step up and deliver; 2. It’s not just about what we do but how we do it – with integrity and professionalism; and 3. We can rise to the challenge if we work together, and work closely with our partners and users.
Save the dates!
The 2017 GSS Conference will be held on 22-23 November. If you think you might like to attend, please block out those dates in your calendar while the organising committee works on firming up further details.
The GSS Presentation and Dissemination Committee (PDC) are hosting a symposium event in Leeds on the 24th July 2017. This is an excellent opportunity to find out more about what’s happening across the GSS to ensure we present our statistics with meaning and impact.
This free event is the ‘northern follow up’ to the London PDC symposium being held on 30 June so will expose attendees to the ideas, themes and future work coming out of the London event.
The symposium, being held at NHS Digital, will run from 10:30-15:15, encompassing morning and afternoon sessions, as well as a networking lunch.
BSc in Data Analytics
The GSS Capability team are working on procuring a new BSc in Data Analytics for 2018/19. Enliz D’souza is leading on this project. She is looking for a few volunteers to be part of a working group to discuss the kind of modules to be included in this BSc in Data Analytics and to give her information about the skills gap with regards to Data Analytics in their departments.
Ideally, the volunteer should meet the following criteria:
- be aware of capability in their department.
- have done the RSS Higher Certificate or any equivalent statistics qualification.
- lead a team that uses a lot of data analytical techniques and skills.
Volunteers will only need to give up a couple of hours of their time per month for about three months for this work. If you would like to volunteer then please email her at enliz.d’firstname.lastname@example.org
IAOS Young Statistician Prize winner
Hannah Thomas, from the ONS Digital Publishing team (who is currently on secondment to Welsh Government), has been awarded the International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS) Young Statistician Prize 2017.
Since the mid-2000s the IAOS has been awarding the Young Statistician Prize to encourage more statisticians to take an active interest in official statistics.
Hannah’s winning paper, titled The Dissemination Game: How to communicate official statistics to non-expert users, focuses on the ongoing challenge of how to win at the dissemination game, looking at the use of social media, changing outputs, getting the most of charts, and making data easy to find and use.
Part of Hannah’s prize will be presenting her paper at a session at the 61st World Statistics Congress in Marrakech in July. Read the full blog for Hannah’s reaction and comment from Jane Naylor (ONS Methodology).
Upcoming GSS sharing seminars
The Good Practice Team (GPT) have arranged a re-run of the successful Automated Statistical Production seminar, originally held back in May.
In this seminar, colleagues from DfE and DCMS, with the help of GDS will take you through a journey of how tools & techniques such as R, markdown and automated testing commonly employed by software developers, are being implemented for statistics production in their departments.
Using such tools and techniques can greatly improve the speed and accuracy with which publications can be produced, whilst ensuring their reproducibility.
Spaces are going fast so register via Eventbrite now to secure yours!
The GPT are also looking to set up a series of seminars in the Autumn and would welcome suggestions of possible topics from GSS colleagues. Please email us and we will look at setting something up.
Training & Events
- The GSS Capability Team are currently finalising the Short Course Programme for 2017-18. This programme will deliver 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.
- The programme will be available in July, check back on the website for details or for any further information, please email the GSS Statistical Capability Team at the following address: email@example.com
- To apply for any of the short courses, please complete an application form.
- The National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) offer a range of training courses and events, see here for the 2017 events.
- A new programme of Data Science Training is now available for all GSS and GSG staff. Courses are available for those who are keen to understand what Data Science is and what this means for us, through to developing coding skills in R or Python. Courses are available via classroom or e-learning options.
- Please see the full programme of training on eventbrite.
- The evolving Learning Academy Data Science learning pathway shows the learning offer from raising awareness through to expert level.
- For further information, please contact the Data Science team at the Learning Academy via:firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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.
- Big Data Sources – Web, Social Media, and Text Analytics which will be held in The Hague (Netherlands) from 18 to 21 September 2017. Please see the course description, the course programme, and the application form to be filled in both pdf and Word format. Deadline for applications to UK ESTP contact point 13 July 2017.
- Time Series Econometrics will take place in Valencia, Spain from 12-14 September 2017. Please find enclosed the description of the course as well as the application form. All Applications should be filled and sent in both Word and pdf format (with signature) to UK ESTP contact point The application deadline is extended to Friday 14 July 2017.
- 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.
- We are about to launch a new MSc in Data Analytics for Government which will be run by 3 different providers: Southampton University, UCL or Oxford Brookes. Applicants should pick the provider that suits them.
- There are 4 core modules that should be the same across the 3 providers, but the optional modules can vary. Attached is a list of what each provider is going to deliver.
- Costs are:
- Southampton – £9,000
- UCL – £14,000
- Oxford Brookes – £7,200
- Southampton will deliver their modules in a block week, whereas UCL and OB will deliver theirs one day per week. Further information regarding the 3 providers and their offerings will be issued very soon via the GSS website.
- The application process will commence in mid-July.
- 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.
- Those who are already enrolled onto this programme, will be able to continue with their studies through to completion
Ideas and contributions on existing or new content are encouraged. Your views are important to us. Please submit your content for the July newsletter by Wednesday 19 July 2017.
The next edition of the newsletter will be published on Wednesday 26 July 2017.
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