Data Science Campus Advisory Board – 14 March 2019

1. Note of the third meeting

Item Lead Discussion points
1 Introductions Tom Smith Tom welcomed Members to the third meeting of the Advisory Board. The Members present and on the phone introduced themselves.

Tom highlighted the increasing profile and reputation of the Campus. The Campus two year review will be published on our second anniversary and reflects our diverse range of activities, leading the group to a discussion of the impact of the Campus, and risks.

The Campus also recently signed off a hub at DFID in East Kilbride which could lead to a new hub/franchise model.

Finally, the Campus is working with key business areas across ONS, including on economic statistics (e.g. faster economic indicators to be published shortly) and on operational delivery (e.g. Census operations).

2 Information sharing and Campus updates Tom Smith & Peter Fullerton Peter Fullerton provided a summary of progress on the actions from the Board’s second meeting. All actions were either complete or on the Agenda.

Tom Smith presented a revised set of five strategic objectives, intended to explore the concept of “data science for public good”. The Members commented that five strategic objectives could be too many and that it could be beneficial to simplify and clarify language. They also explored whether the Campus should be involved in promoting the public understanding of evidence and leading the way in ethics in data, as well as considering who the users and stakeholders are for the Campus.

Action 1

Tom Smith to review strategic objectives in the light of the Advisory Board’s comments.

3 Seeking advice: growing the Campus and demonstrating impact Tom Smith, Dave Johnson, Peter Fullerton Peter Fullerton presented a risk register for the Campus, and asked for advice from the Members present on identifying the “unknown unknowns”.

The Members noted that risks may be categorised into one of four types – strategic, external, internal, and major project risks – and that the Campus should focus primarily on strategic risks.

The Members also commented that the risks seemed narrow, focusing primarily on resources and that risks at a more macro level should be considered, for example access to data, public reputation, privacy, and positioning in Whitehall.

The Members also recommended that the Campus should consider ethical risks, and give a clearer idea of what could be done to mitigate these risks.

Action 2

Peter Fullerton to add macro-level risks and identify mitigating actions to be taken.

Peter Fullerton presented a proposed impact dashboard and invited the Members present to comment. He also asked whether the Members would be happy to form an expert panel of critical friends to give overall scores of progress or impact informed by a dashboard of indicators. The Members present suggested that the Campus could consider defining its audience and what those providing funding want from performance indicators.

The Campus might also consider including a cumulative sense of progress, and incorporate a measure of quality as well as quantity of projects and capability building initiatives.

The Members agreed to act as an expert panel, and Peter invited interested individuals to volunteer to contribute to the design of the dashboard.

Action 3

Peter Fullerton to present proposals for an impact scoring mechanism and supporting evidence to the next meeting of the Board.

Dave Johnson presented a model of the impact of the Campus’s capability building initiatives, and asked the Members present what the best model would be to push the Campus’s impact to be transformational.

The Members suggested that the Campus could consider the impact of the Masters in Data Analytics for Government, and whether it could include modules on data governance and the wider public economy in order to activate change.

Actions 4

Dave Johnson to share a review of the Campus’s academic partnerships for feedback from Members.

Actions 5

Dave Johnson to share case studies for journeys of individuals throughout their careers that have been supported by the Campus.

Actions 6

Dave Johnson to investigate the needs of audiences and what methods for showing impact have worked in the past.

Tom Smith chaired a discussion of the future direction of the Campus. The Members suggested a number of areas for the Campus team to explore, including considering a 10 year vision to determine what it would like to achieve within that time, to be updated every 2-5 years, which would include planning for the Campus to be fully integrated into ONS after 10 years.

The Members also suggested that the Campus could explore defining its business model – will it focus on project delivery or capability – as well as find its place in the broad church of public sector data science, taking into account the interdependency of external factors that the Campus can’t control.

4 A.O.B / Close Tom Smith
Peter Fullerton, Anya Crisp-Patterson, Rachel Prior;
DSCAB Secretariat, March 2019