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A Statistician’s view of DExEU

Back in November 2017 after many years of working at the ONS I made the decision to take up a secondment as Head of Statistics at the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU). I thought it would be useful to step back and reflect and share my experiences so far.

Firstly the 6 months has gone really quickly – there has been lots to learn and lots to do. I am the only statistician in the department so I’ve had to define my role working closely with other analysts (mostly economists). I have responsibility for ensuring the appropriate use of data across the department, this includes fact checking high profile publications, briefings and speeches, making sure the data used in analysis is the most up to date and robust and taking forward innovative projects to fill identified data gaps. I’ve also been looking at how data science can support the work of our department. A lot of my work involves working collaboratively across Government – with both analytical and policy professionals on a range of different topics e.g. migration, and trade (two of the top priorities for our National Statistician at present). My work is very varied and I’ve made lots of new contacts in many departments.

I have really enjoyed my new role – it has been very different to anything I have done before – which is exactly what I wanted, a challenge and a great development opportunity. Working in such a high profile Ministerial department means that I have learnt a lot about working at pace, dealing with uncertainty, managing sensitive issues and being pragmatic around what is fit for purpose. I have always wanted to work in a policy department and I can safely say that I am as close as it gets to ‘Better Statistics, Better Decisions’ – demonstrating how analysis can support some of the most important decisions that Government is making right now.

This is a truly unique experience and as a department DExEU recognise it – they put a big emphasis on supporting development and well-being and staff are really motivated and enthusiastic. Everybody recognises that being part of DExEU is a rare opportunity – to be at the centre of Government decision making and that this chance won’t be here forever. The very clear steer that we’ve had from senior management is that there is uncertainty about exactly what form the department will have post March 2019 but what is certain is that the analytical work to support the UK’s exit from the EU will be needed a lot longer into the future. I am keen to be part of this.

Are you the type of person that also fancies this type of unique challenge and an opportunity to develop new and valuable skills and be at the heart of Government decision making? If so please do get in touch with me to discuss opportunities for a loan or secondment into an analytical post at DExEU as I am looking to strengthen our statistical, operational research and data science capability.

In addition I currently have a Grade 7 vacancy live on Civil Service Jobs. You can apply on level transfer or promotion. The advert states 2 years but this could be shorter. We can also be flexible around working arrangements with options for working from home.  Please do get in touch at


Jane Naylor
Ami Treharne
Jane Naylor is Head of Statistics at the Department for Exiting the EU (DExEU)