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Launch of the Data Catalogue

A cross government initiative led by the Department for Exiting the European Union (DExEU) has launched a Data Catalogue. This covers a wide range of data sources related to EU exit such as trade, tariffs, population and mobility. The aim of the catalogue is to ensure that data sources are used effectively and consistently across departments. This resource should be used by all analysts working on the future relationship with the EU. Yet, the catalogue has wider applicability.

Why do we need a Data Catalogue?

Have you ever been asked at short notice for a statistic but you can’t remember the best source? What was the value of UK exports of cars to France last year? How many EU nationals are living in the UK? What is the best measure of the UK labour market?

When starting a new piece of analysis have you ever sat thinking which data will be the most robust to use in your model? Should I use ONS, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) or Eurostat trade data? Which is the best international source for tariff data?

Have you ever been frustrated when trying to combine analysis from different departments and can’t because different underlying data sources have been used?

I’ve come across a lot of these types of queries and issues over the past two years working at DExEU. I started to keep emails with advice about key data sources and links to the most recent publications – all in a rather ad-hoc way. I realised that what I needed was something more sustainable and shareable. A resource that could provide a consistent and agreed view of the strengths and weaknesses of key data sources used in EU exit analysis. The idea for a Data Catalogue was born!

A departmental working group (either key users or producers of data) drove forward this work and it was launched last week!

What is the Data Catalogue?

The catalogue covers 80 key data sources related to EU exit analysis (trade, investment, economic indicators, tariffs, labour market, population and mobility). A two page document is provided for each data set. This covers key characteristics such as what the data tell us, strengths and limitations of the data source and common errors when using the data.

Alongside the two page documents we have also produced flow charts for some key themes (UK trade, international trade, volume of trade, population and migration). The flowcharts provide users with signposts on suggested data sources to use in different scenarios.

How can you use the Data Catalogue?

Although it is focused on data sets relevant to analysis around the future relationship with the EU, this resource has wider applicability.

The Data Catalogue is being hosted by the Department for International Trade (DIT) on sharepoint. Please contact your department’s Data Catalogue Champion in the table below and they will be able to arrange access for you. 

What next?

Please start using the catalogue as soon as you have access and encourage your colleagues to do the same. Please provide feedback through your departmental point of contact. This is not a finished product but a resource that will be updated and developed over time. This responsibility will sit with the Data Catalogue Steering Group (made up of the departmental representatives). The steering group has been set up to provide ongoing maintenance, to track and promote usage of the resource. The steering group will also ensure strategic join up with other cross government initiatives (such as the Connected Open Government Statistics (COGS) project). Your ongoing feedback is highly valued to ensure that these products continue to be of relevance and use to analysts.

The Data Catalogue is one element of a wider EU Exit Data Strategy. The strategy aims to ensure data are used consistently and effectively, are shared appropriately and any data gaps are filled collaboratively. DExEU was disbanded as a department on 31 January. Yet we are keen that the legacy of this type of work – coordinating analysis to support the future relationship with the EU – is continued. We do hope that you find the Data Catalogue useful and it improves the efficiency and quality of your work.

Departmental contacts:

Department Department acronymName 
Business, Energy and Industrial StrategyBEISRay Rusike 
Business, Energy and Industrial StrategyBEISLawrence Ajibola 
Business, Energy and Industrial StrategyBEISBrian Stockdale 
Department for Digital, Culture, Media and SportDCMSRishi Vaidya 
Department for Exiting the European UnionDExEUJane Naylor 
Department for Exiting the European UnionDExEUAmelia Ash 
Department for Exiting the European UnionDExEUArjun Kharbanda 
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs DefraHacer Bickerton 
Department for TransportDfTDelphine Robineau 
Department for TransportDfTGiuseppe Sollazzo 
Department for TransportDfTAmra Adam 
Department for International TradeDITPeter Antoniades 
Department for International TradeDITWei Wang 
HM Revenue and CustomsHMRCDani Bega 
HM Revenue and CustomsHMRCKevin Sams 
HM TreasuryHMTJordan Frimpong 
Home Office HODaniel Sellman 
Office for National StatisticsONSChloe Gibbs 
Foreign and Commonwealth OfficeFCOAnna Woolf 

 

Want to get involved?

If your department is not listed then please contact statistics@trade.gov.uk.

Jane Naylor
George Pickering
Jane has been head of statistics at the Department for Exiting the EU since November 2017, ensuring appropriate use of data and statistics and providing analytical support across the EU exit programme. She previously worked as a methodologist at the Office for National Statistics.