Whitehall analysis function aims to promote data-science skills across government
Office for National Statistics to spearhead new civil-service profession
Scientists, engineers, economists, actuaries and researchers from across government have come together to form a new civil service analysis function, led by the Office for National Statistics.
Gareth Clancy, head of careers at the Government Statistical Service, introduced the new function in a blogpost on the ONS website this week.
He said Sir Jeremy Heywood, civil service head, had recently “challenged our community to become more visible so that our analysis shapes the decisions on important issues facing the UK like Brexit, economic productivity, government spending, the security of our nation and making government a diverse workplace”.
Policy makers are “more likely to take the optimal decision if you have the evidence to support that choice”, Clancy added.
Clancy, who is responsible for building capability across government in statistics and data science, said professional analysts were already involved in “every facet of public services”, from border security to tax decisions.
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The aim is to broaden opportunities for government analysts, he said.
The analysis function also aims to set the standards and help build capability for all civil servants, regardless of their professional background, so that “analysis and evidence becomes integrated into decision making”, he added.
The function’s learning and development programme consequently emphasises building analytical and data science skills across government, in allied professions as well as the analysis function.
In late January, leaders from the function agreed on a set of priorities, which include engaging professionals from other functions and developing a career framework that supports multi-disciplinary teams.
Clancy also said the new function had “stretching targets” to become more diverse.
Although big-ticket technology announcements were largely absent from the chancellor’s speech, the Budget contained a number of initiatives and investments in digital and data
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