Data Science Campus Advisory Board – 21 September 2020

Item Lead Discussion points
1 Introductions Tom Smith

1.1 Tom Smith welcomed Members to the sixth meeting of the Advisory Board, including Alison Pritchard who is soon to join ONS as Head of Data Capability and Deputy National Statistician. The Members introduced themselves and apologies from Geoff Little were noted.

Alison introduced herself and noted the growth in importance for data in government and her enthusiasm to begin working with the Campus and colleagues.

Tom reflected on the impact and recognition of the Campus in the National Data Strategy (NDS). Tom noted the questions of how to ensure the Campus impact was sustainable, how to continue exploring opportunities and methods for innovation and how to scale the Campus’ role in developing partnerships and a community.

2 Information sharing and Campus updates Peter Fullerton, Dave Johnson, Louisa Nolan

2.1 Peter Fullerton provided a summary of progress on the actions from the Board’s previous meeting. The action of sharing the graduate programme curriculum will be completed following the sixth meeting. The action of an update on measuring impact will be carried to the agenda of the seventh meeting following developments in the UK Statistics Authority Strategy and Office for National Statistics (ONS) business plans.

2.2 Louisa Nolan provided a summary of projects undertaken as part of the Campus response to COVID-19. Louisa noted challenges overcome around how private sector data had to be treated differently to data sources the Campus was more familiar with, the establishment of a collaborative infrastructure and the management of secondment requests for Campus staff into other government departments. The Members questioned the sustainability of fulfilling secondments and how to improve private sector data sharing in future. Louisa noted work on both questions was ongoing, and the hope to establish a dedicated Rapid Response team and a centre of excellence for mobility data, contingent on the outcome of the Comprehensive Spending Review 2020 (CSR20).

2.3 Dave Johnson presented a summary of the Campus Knowledge Exchange changed delivery in response to COVID-19. Dave noted the successes of converting to online delivery, the accelerator programme which the Campus had taken over from the Government Digital Service, changes to the mentoring scheme and expedited delivery of modules with the Campus’ university partners. The members discussed the development of new training areas, organisations the Campus could gain value by linking up with, how we evaluate the success of training programmes and the importance of sustainability in ethics and assurance to maintaining ongoing integrity and credibility within organisations.

2.4 Peter Fullerton summarised the Campus’ historic funding, the Campus’ current position in funding and headcount and the Campus’ desired outcomes for funding and headcount from the CSR20.

3 Seeking advice: increase and demonstrate Campus impact Tom Smith, Dave Johnson 3.1 Tom Smith noted the Campus was seeking strategic advice regarding the three-year plan based on the CSR20 bid. Dave Johnson summarised the Campus’ role in both national and international work and asked for comment on how to best contribute towards the UK Statistics Authority, ONS, NDS and wider government. Dave noted four key trends in government data science: the use of near time and now-cast dashboards, cloud and integrated data infrastructure, collaborations with the private sector and academia, the democratisation of data science. The Board discussed key themes from across government, the role of the Campus in being more outward looking, the importance of having set core objectives and integrated review, the assessment process around ethics and governance for individuals, the potential to deliver training for a wider range of skills than technical capability such as negotiation and project management, how to train others to be competent customers of data, and how the Campus sits alongside the various government functions.
4 A.O.B / Close Tom Smith

In response to a previous query, Dave Johnson shared a report regarding the examination results algorithm used by The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation.

Tom Smith thanked the Members for attending. Tom thanked Dave Johnson and Peter Fullerton for their contributions to the Campus for the past four years, noting that this had been their final meeting with the Advisory Board. A poll will be distributed to confirm the date of the next meeting.

Peter Fullerton, Sebastian Mansley, Anya Crisp-Patterson,Sheila Powell;
DSCAB Secretariat, September 2020