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DWP Digital develops Churchill data tool for policy



New product uses data visualisations to maximise context and provide different angles for investigation

The digital team at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has developed a data visualisation tool for policy makers.

Named Churchill, it has been described by Ryan Dunn, head of data science at DWP Digital’s Newcastle hub, as “data for people who don’t like data”.

He says in a DWP Digital blogpost that it uses open data from sources such as the Office of National Statistics, and enables policy makers to explore the data by geography, time and other characteristics.

The data visualisations have been designed to maximise context and provide different angles for discovery.

It makes it possible for users to highlight areas they want to look in creating policy. These can include comparing places within and across policy areas, drill down to look in more detail, inspecting changes and trends over time, and examining how the makeup of people in a place has changed over time.

“It’s the first product of its kind and we’re learning all the time, but we’ve had great feedback from our ‘show and tells’ both inside and outside of DWP,” Dunn says.

There are plans to make Churchill available to wider user base, and to add more data.

Dunn adds that the name was chosen because, when Winston Churchill set up the Central Statistical Office in 1941, it was intended to ensure the coherence of statistical information across government.

Image from Imperial War Museums, public domain

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