WWWeb’s the way forward!

The way we interact, collaborate and work together changed a lot in 2020. We are always seeking more imaginative ways to share information and generally connect with colleagues as well as family and friends. Events are a great way to bring everyone together to collaborate and learn about interesting and engaging topics. Since the start of the pandemic events have been held on various online platforms, even live on social media platforms like Instagram or Facebook.

The Census and Population Statistics (CAPS) Hub Team in the Methodology Division of the Office for National Statistics was not going to let pandemic restrictions stop them from hosting events; and led a webinar on Census in December 2020. This was one of several webinars being hosted by Stakeholder Engagement and Communications to help everyone understand how Census 2021 will work.

Viktor Racinskij and Kirsten Piller led a session on Census Estimation and Adjustment respectively, to 90 important Census stakeholders, such as representatives from local authorities, other government departments and private sector analysts. Communication is, in part about building confidence in the Census, so that our stakeholders gain a better understanding of how Census works and how the results will be produced. It is important that we are open and transparent, as this enables us to address concerns or misunderstandings in advance, as well as being able to listen to any feedback from our stakeholders.

The webinar was open for anyone to attend, so knowing what topics to include and in what level of detail was challenging. Likewise, estimation and adjustment are both very technical areas of Census processing and can be difficult to explain in such a short amount of time. The team put a huge amount of effort into pitching the content at the right level and found it challenging to present both in a 40 minutes session. Colleagues from Stakeholder Engagement and Communications, who set up and facilitated the full series of webinars were on hand to help and made sure that all the main points were covered.

The use of technology was a recurring theme and something that the team had to get used to. The series of webinars were hosted via Google Meet and Slido was used for the question and answers session.

Gareth Powell, CAPS Hub team said:

“It was really different running a session online rather than face-to-face, though we are all becoming increasingly used to virtual rooms now.

“Although this session was a challenge and a lot of work, especially when we’re getting ready for Census itself, it’s vital that we explain our methods and give opportunities both for questions and any challenges. It was great to see the variety of people who signed up to attend, and heartening to see so many good questions coming in.”

The recent session wasn’t recorded but the team are now planning a follow up to the recent session and will share detailed methods papers, simplified method explainers and host similar events in the future. It’s important that we continue to talk about Census with stakeholders and hear about its importance of it and how the data can add value to our stakeholders work and future projects.

If you would like to know more about Census methods you can contact the CAPS Hub by email: methodology@ons.gov.uk.