Welcome to the latest edition of the GSS Newsletter
- Plans for this year’s GSS Conference are starting to take shape. Confirmed speakers include John Pullinger, Tom Smith (MD, ONS Data Science Campus), Maria Fasli (Director, Institute for Analytics and Data Science) and Daniel Hulme (Founder and CEO of Satalia). A full update can be found on the dedicated conference page or follow developments on the GSS Slack channel.
- Hannah Thomas, winner of the International Association for Official Statistics (IAOS) Young Statistician of the Year award, shares her thoughts on being invited to speak at the International Statistical Institute (ISI) 2017 World Statistics Congress in Marrakech.
- The latest edition of the GSS Harmonisation Newsletter has now been published. Highlights include approval of the Personal Well-being harmonised principle as well as three new business definitions.
- The Office for Statistics Regulation’s consultation for a refreshed Code of Practice is now in its final stage. There is still time to have your say by going to the UK Statistics Authority website. The deadline for responses is 5:00pm on 5 October 2017.
- The GSS Presentation and Dissemination Committee (PDC) met on Wednesday 20 September. Guest speakers included Jagdev Virdee from the Statistics Users Forum. ‘What’s New’ returns from departments, progress on the GSS Discovery project and analysing ‘user personas’ and ‘jobs to be done’ to lead to more effective engagement with an understanding of the audience for GSS publications were focuses for discussion. To find out what else was discussed see the full agenda.
- Are you considering changes to your publication? Would you value some independent, constructive feedback? If so a Publication Scrum could be for you. The Good Practice Team (GPT) have helped many departments including MOD, Cabinet Office and the Home Office to improve their publications. If you have a publication you’d like reviewed, please get in touch!
- Nominations are now open for the Royal Statistical Society (RSS) 2018 Honours and Awards. Each year the RSS awards medals and prizes to people who have made outstanding contributions to the development of statistics. You can find more details and submit your nomination via the RSS website. The closing date for nominations is 2 October 2017.
Out and about with the National Statistician
John Pullinger, National Statistician, has visited GSS teams across the country over the summer and early autumn.
He visited NISRA in Belfast, MOD in Bristol, the Crime Statistics team in Titchfield, field interviewers at Heathrow, Home Office in London, DfID in East Kilbride and Scottish Government statisticians in Edinburgh.
John would like to thank all those who presented to him. He was fascinated by the diverse amount of work that each department was doing and some of the innovative approaches departments were taking to tackle challenging stories to tell.
How ONS is improving statistics to drive better policy
We’re all taking decisions every day of the week at home or in work – some small decisions and some major decisions, but without the right information how well informed are these?
This is true no matter who you are, from those making major policy decisions through to deciding where to live or which school to pick for your child.
There have been notable strides in improving our statistics by working together across government but we must go further and better exploit the new data sources coming available, particularly for Migration Statistics.
In a recent article for Civil Service World, Iain Bell, Deputy National Statistian for Population and Public Policy at ONS, talks about his threefold plan to ensure that statistics meet the need of policymakers.
New Early Years stats publication and joint working with NHS Digital
Katherine Potts works as part of Ofsted’s Early Years Data and Analysis team and helps produce official statistics about the number of early years and childcare providers in the sector and their inspection judgements.
In 2017 the team set themselves the challenge of investigating what other datasets about 0-5 year olds were available across the GSS.
The aim was to help Ofsted measure the value of early years inspection judgements and also provide better insight for policy colleagues who were also keen to support their endeavours to understand and link GSS data.
Read the full article for details on the ages and stages questionnaire, Katherine’s secondment to NHS Digital, her reflections on what she learnt and the next steps.
The Data Science Campus – how to collaborate on a project
Louisa Nolan, Senior Data Scientist in the Data Science Campus, looks at how you can get involved in data science with the Data Campus if you want to:
- explore data sources such as satellite images, text, the Internet of Things, social media, big data, Blockchain etc,
- explore the power of cutting-edge data science methodologies: artificial intelligence, clustering, random forests, neural networks, text mining, network analysis etc.
- build data science capability in your team through collaboration with members of the data science community.
Louisa looks at what data science is, how to collaborate with the data science campus on a data science project, and building capability.
New roles available across the GSS
- A number of exciting analytical and statistical roles have opened for recruitment in the last week. Check out the Vacancies of the Week on the GSS website.
GSS Statistical Officer recruitment
- Have you got a naturally curious mind, keen to find solutions? Are you looking for a fresh challenge that will really put your analytical skills to the test? The next round of recruitment for Statistical Officers across the GSS will begin on Monday 2 October. More information will be available via the GSS website and social media channels.
- GSS Careers invites you to complete the new Cross Government Analytical Function Diversity Survey. This has been designed by GSS members to capture diversity details of all of the analytical professions for the first time. This information will help shape support for all GSS members and analytical communities. For more information please contact GSS Careers.
- Members of the GSS Careers team answer your questions on what are Career Pathways, deciding on and joining and moving across pathways and the connection between learning and career pathways.
Training & Events
- Training update
- Level 5 Statistics & Analysis
- Learn Data Science
- European Statistical Training Programme
Statistical Training Short Course Programme 2017-18
- What is it?
- The analytical short courses provide you with an overview of statistical and analytical techniques. This classroom based learning will also strengthen and update your professional skills and knowledge in the main methods used in official statistics. The courses cover a wide range of topics following the whole statistical process from the design stage through to disclosure control and communication of statistics.
- What topics are covered on the course?
- There are two levels to these courses:
Introductory – no prior knowledge is required. The course provides an introduction and understanding of the subject.
Intermediate – advanced level, open to all staff with a good working knowledge of the subject area.
- Full details of each course can be found in the Learning Academy Brochure.
- What are the entry requirements?
There are no pre-requisites for these courses.
- What does the course cost?
There is no charge for ONS staff, however we will implement our cancellation policy for non-attendance.
The cost to GSS staff wishing to attend classroom based learning is available on Eventbrite.
- How do I apply?
To apply, please book your place and we will send you an application form.
- The National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) offer a range of training courses and events, see here for the 2017 events.
Level 5 in Statistics and Analysis (RSS Higher replacement)
As you will be aware this programme was previously accredited by Royal Statistical Society (RSS). The Learning Academy have been seeking a different partner to accredit the scheme, but to date have not been fortunate enough to attract an academic partner. This is partly due to suppliers focusing on our work to introduce a new BSc in Data Analaytics in 2018 that will replace this scheme.
Our intention is to continue to run this scheme should there be enough demand, with the will to find a solution that allows assessment and accreditation to take place, potentially with our BSc academic partners. At this stage we can make no gurantees that this will happen and so fully understand if at this stage you choose to wait to commence the BSc in September 2018.
The modules taking place this year are as follows:
What topics are covered on the course?
The following modules covered are as follows:
- Module 1 – Data Collection and Interpretation (Oct – Dec)
- Module 2 – Probability Models (Jan – Feb)
- Module 3 – Basic Statistical Methods (Mar-Apr)
- Module 4 – Linear Models (Oct – Dec)
- Module 7 – Time Series and Index Numbers (Jan-Feb)
- Module 8 – Survey Sampling and Estimation (Mar-Apr)
This learning will strengthen and update your professional skills and knowledge in the main methods used in Official Statistics. The courses cover a wide range of topics following the whole statistical process from the design stage through to disclosure control and communication of statistics.
If you are interested in studying for this course (classroom or distance learning), please book here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/level-5-data-analytics-rss-higher-replacement-registration-of-interest-tickets-37058544103
- 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:email@example.com
- 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.
- 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.
The application process for the MSc in Data Analytics for Government is now open. Please see the linked information for the courses being provided by Southampton University, Oxford Brookes University and University College London before deciding which MSc course you are most interested in. Our apologies are extended on behalf of the three Universities, as their websites are not currently available – we will update you as soon as these are live.
All applications for MSc in Data Analytics for Government will be made directly to your University of choice. Please use the following contact points and information as your guide:
- Southampton University – For the full MSc and individual module application forms and submissions, please contact Paul Smith – email@example.com
- University College London – For the full MSc and individual module application forms and submissions, please contact either Professor Patrick Wolfe – firstname.lastname@example.org or Sofia Olhede – email@example.com
- Oxford Brookes – Programme Structure. For the full MSc, applications may be submitted online via UKPASS: bz/UKPASS. If you are interested in one of the individual modules, you will need to contact Dr. Rachel Long for the relevant application forms: Tel: 01865 484591; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please ensure that you have discussed the funding for your studies with your line manager and budget holder.
Please note that you must have already attained a numerical degree level course, or a non-numerical degree course with Continuing Professional Development/work experience within a numerical field, before you can apply for the MSc in Data Analytics for Government.
The universities and the programme
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.
- 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 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 email@example.com.
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.
- National Statistician’s Blog: John’s latest blog about hosting a delegation from Stats New Zealand to discuss collaboration on using data to improve social policy.
- GSS Staff Blogs:
- GSS Data Blog: There are jobs to be done but where are the personas? Sam Hall blogs on the latest progress in discovering the GSS Data Landscape.
Ideas and contributions on existing or new content are encouraged. Your views are important to us. Please submit your content for the October newsletter by Wednesday 18 October 2017.
The next edition of the newsletter will be published on Wednesday 25 October 2017.
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