Does your organisation need help with statistics?

stephanie-howarth-gssStephanie Howarth is a government statistician, working in the UK Statistics Authority. She works with statisticians across government to improve the way they communicate and engage with people who use statistics.

Statistics matter. It is impossible to open a newspaper or watch a news broadcast without seeing statistics being used to inform the debate. This week GSS and NCVO launch the Voluntary Sector Placement Scheme for Government Statisticians, which seeks to match up voluntary sector organisations with government statisticians for short placements.

This is a fantastic opportunity for you to benefit from the analytical skills of government statisticians, all for free!

Do you…

  • …need some advice on how to collect some data or how to analyse data that you already have?
  • …want to know how you can measure your impact?
  • …need to see how you compare to other organisations?

These are all things the Placement Scheme could help with. The Scheme also provides a great chance for government statisticians to learn more about how voluntary sector organisations work and how you use statistics. So everyone wins!

Find out more about the Scheme, including how to apply

The need

The UK Statistics Authority’s 2012 report Official Statistics and the Voluntary Sector found that voluntary sector organisations have the potential to make extensive use of official statistics, but the sector’s needs are often less well understood. The Authority said that:

“Voluntary sector organisations are likely to benefit, even more than their counterparts in other sectors, from ongoing support and closer engagement with experts in producer bodies: to highlight available statistics, explain the relevant quality considerations and to give analytical advice”

The Scottish experience

The placement scheme is based on a similar initiative run in Scotland. Citizens Advice Scotland was one of the organisations that benefited from the Scottish scheme. They joined the scheme to get support with their client database. Before the scheme the analysis of this data had been difficult and very time consuming, due to the size and complexity of the data.

A statistician from Scottish government helped deliver a single file of data ready for analysis. By making the data easy to analyse, its full potential could then be realised. The statistician achieved this in a short space of time, by signing a data access agreement with Citizens Advice Scotland and exploring different ways of creating an analysis dataset.

They used the data in a joint study on repossessions in Scotland. The statistician also provided advice about how Citizens Advice Scotland could develop its analytical capability to make the most of the research data it holds. This work led to much closer working between Scottish government and Citizens Advice Scotland so that collectively the two organisations could make more of this research dataset.

Want to find out more?

The scheme is open to all voluntary sector organisations; you don’t need to be a member of NCVO to apply. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

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