GSS Newsletter – January 2018
Welcome to the latest edition of the GSS Newsletter
- Customise My Data – ONS have enhanced the way that you can access data on their website. Find out why they’ve done this, where you can access it, and have your say on the public beta.
- Francesca Allerton reflects on two weeks with the Good Practice Team.
- Changing of the Guard – introducing the new chairs of the Open Data Sub-Group.
- Did you enjoy a particular session at the 2017 GSS Conference? A number of parallel session presentations are now available on the conference page.
- Are you interested in getting involved in a Publication Scrum, or even facilitating one in your department? We (the Good Practice Team) would love to hear from you! We’ve got a number of sessions available so book yourself or your publication in today!
- March of the Shadow Penguin – Michael Bleakley from the Central Policy Secretariat shares his recent experience shadowing Neil Jackson, Chief Statistician at DFID.
- An exciting opportunity has arisen in the Statistics Authority’s Private Office, supporting the National Statistician and the Deputy National Statistician and Director General (DG) for Data Capability.
Refreshing the GSS website – we need your help!
Since the turn of the year, significant progress has been made in the Good Practice Team’s work to refresh the GSS website aiming for a simpler but more effective design.
The new website, which no longer requires signing-in, will introduce some major content changes. This will include a streamlined “About” section, new look ‘Communicating Statistics’ content as well as refreshed “Careers” and “Learning and Development” sections.
Blogs will also be brought in to one helpful stream, so you always see the latest from across the GSS Community!
An initial prototype is now in development – can you spare some time to help us see whether we are on the right lines?
For more detail on the refresh and how you can get involved see the full article.
The Code of Practice for Statistics
Mary Gregory has just taken up post in the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) as Deputy Director for Regulation.
She is now a few weeks into her role and has been lucky enough to experience what a positive and friendly team OSR is with a clear purpose and values, which individuals strive to exhibit.
As part of her role, she has oversight of the regulatory work programme, which gives her an insight into the vast range of official statistics and the huge amount of important work that is going on.
Deciding how to prioritise OSR resources across the system to deliver the greatest public value is no easy task – read more from Mary on her first few weeks, and how you can give your views on the OSR work programme for 2018/19
News from the RSS Conference 2018 and Official Statistics Awards
2018 Campion Official Statistics Award
Applications are now open for this year’s Campion Official Statistics Award.
As always the award is looking for examples of excellent presentation of official statistics and examples of innovative statistical practices that have improved statistical information for users. The Royal Statistics Society is running the award in partnership with the UK Statistics Authority and Civil Service World.
Submissions for 2018 RSS Conference
The Royal Statistical Society’s 2018 International Conference will take place in Cardiff from 3-6 September and the organisers are seeking your contributions to the programme.
Submissions are currently open for contributed talks, rapid-fire talks and poster presentations with a deadline for talk abstracts of 5 April. Full information about making a submission can be found here.
Registration is also now open with discounts available until 5 June.
GSS Presentation and Dissemination Committee Update
The GSS Presentation and Dissemination Committee (PDC) met on Monday 11 December.
Guest speakers included Robert Fry from the Office for National Statistics, demonstrating ONS products for the inquiring citizen, and colleagues from the Department for Transport and Ministry of Justice showcasing their use of R Markdown and Power BI to present and disseminate data.
What’s New?’ returns from departments, progress on the GSS Data Project , the latest ‘web analytics’ from GOV.UK and assessing the appetite to work towards a GSS digital social trends style publication were some of this quarter’s other hot topics discussed at the meeting.
The full minutes and actions from the December meeting will be available on the GSS website at the end of January.
GSS Learning update
Happy New Year from the GSS Learning & Development team!
- Establishing the GSS Learning & Development Need
Per December’s update, we have asked the Heads of Professions to confirm their respective learning & development priorities as well as any specific regional location requests. Responses are due at the end of this month, and we will be using all responses received to improve the GSS learning offer.
- Ask not what your community can do for you … !
We continue to seek those within the GSS community who have profession specific skills, knowledge and/or expertise for our new GSS People Expertise Repository (PER).
This is intended to be a hotlist that others can use when they need some ad-hoc or urgent advice/guidance.
If you are interested in sharing your skills, knowledge or expertise; please let us have your details:-
- Your name, organisation and preferred email contact address.
- Your key specialism/subject matter expertise.
- Your regional location.
Email your volunteer details to the Learning Academy and indicate ‘PER Volunteer’ in the title.
Training & Events
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 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.
It is with regret that the Learning Academy has experienced some problems in seeking an accrediting body to accredit the course.
The Learning Academy has therefore had to consider alternative learning options for this course, and is keen to share these with you.
Option 1 – Professional Certificate in Practical Statistics (Open University – distance learning)
This course will commence in February 2018 and consists of four modules being studied across 2 years, although this can be extended up to 7 years to fit with your situation. Modules can also be studied individually. Study takes place through distance learning with Tutor support via online and face-to-face tutorials. The four modules covered within this course and their associated costs are:
Introducing Statistics (approx £1500)
Analysing data (approx £1500)
Practical modern statistics (approx £1500)
Linear statistical modelling (approx £1500)
Funding – your Business area/Division will be required to fund your attendance on this course.
Entry to the Statistical Profession – all four modules must be studied and passed if government employees are interested in also joining the Statistical Profession.
More information on this course and how to enrol can be found here
Option 2 – Continued Professional Development – Higher Level course – S3Ri Distance Learning Programme (Southampton University – distance learning)
This course provides the continued delivery of the old RSS Higher modules through Southampton’s Continued Professional Development programme. This delivery is generally catering for those who had not previously finished their studies under the old RSS programme, however will be available for the next 2 years offering an opportunity for new students to join. No accreditation is available with this programme, but we are currently in discussion with Southampton University about whether a Certificate of Successful Completion might be available for each module successfully completed. This will not provide a formal accreditation but will enable you to verify your Level 5 learning to others. We will keep you informed of the progress made with this.
The course is studied via personal study but with access to a Tutor, who will mostly be contactable through email (hence, face-to-face meets are not generally undertaken on this course). There is a total of eight modules available through this course, as follows:
Higher Level course
Module 1- Data collection and interpretation (£175)
Module 2 – Probability models (£175)
Module 3 – Basic statistical methods (£175)
Module 4 – Linear models (£175)
Module 5 – Further probability and inference (£175)
Module 6 – Further applications of statistics (£175)
Module 7 – Time series and index numbers (£175)
Module 8 – Survey sampling and estimation (£175)
Funding – your Business area/Division will be required to fund your attendance on this course.
Entry to the Statistical Profession – six of the above modules must be studied and passed if government employees are also interested in joining the Statistical Profession.
More information on this course can be found here
- 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
- University College London – For the full MSc and individual module application forms and submissions, please contact either Professor Patrick Wolfe or Sofia Olhede
- 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: email@example.com
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 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.
- National Statistician’s blog: Brilliant people, brilliant team, brilliant service
Ideas and contributions on existing or new content are encouraged. Your views are important to us. Please submit your content for the February newsletter by Wednesday 21 February 2018.
The next edition of the newsletter will be published on Wednesday 28 February 2018.
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