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Civil Service boosts data training for staff

Simon Case
Simon Case
Image source: GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

The Civil Service is building its data capability with at least a day of training for all its staff and the planned launch of the Integrated Data Service, according to Cabinet Secretary Simon Case.

He pointed to the measures as part of a lecture to Bristol University late last month, relating them to two of his crucial issues for the future of UK government.

Case said that a core element of building capabilities in the Civil Service is to spread data training beyond specialists and graduates, and that all civil servants will receive a data of dedicated training this year, amounting to 500,000 overall.

“Because we do need our data experts, the ninjas as I call them. The reality is that every civil servant needs to be better equipped to use data in how they solve problems; and design and deliver public services,” he said.

Cloud platform

The capability should be strengthened later this year with the launch of the Integrated Data Service, a cloud based platform giving analysts and researchers increased access to data from a range of sources which was launched in beta by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) late in 2021.

“It will enable us to combine and compare information from right across the public sector about what’s happening in the public services, what’s happening in the economy and what’s happening across society,” Case said.

He highlighted the work of ONS in initiatives such as the Covid-19 Infection Survey, and helping the public understand the effect of rising prices on their spending power through its online personal inflation calculator.

“It’s this kind of work that plays to our ambitions in this area: namely, analysts from across government collaborating on shared problems; building understanding amongst non-experts to make them smarter customers; and integrating data from across government and beyond,” he said.

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