Public Services > Central Government

GDS weighs data science potential

Matteo Natalucci Published 24 July 2017

Digital service wants to build data science capability across Whitehall and improve data literacy; announces expansion of Data Science Accelerator scheme and plans second conference in 2018

 

The Government Digital Service (GDS) has announced new measures to realise the full potential of data science across the public sector.

In the past months, GDS established the Government Data Science Partnership with the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Government Office for Science to support the development of data-science skills and tools across departments and agencies.

In a GDS blog , the policy advisor Dawn Duhaney, reported the latest development on GDS' cross-government data science initiatives.

"The focus this year is to build data science capability across government and improve data literacy among analysts and non-analysts," according to the blog.

In the blog, GDS announced the expansion of its Data Science Accelerator scheme, which was set up to provide analyst from across the public sector the opportunity to develop their data science skills.  The Data Science Accelerator hubs scaled across the UK from three to five in the last year, and are now located in London, Newport, Bristol, Sheffield and Newcastle.  A total of 60 civil servants have already graduated from the accelerator programme.

In April, GDS hosted the first Government Data Science Conference, which brought together over 250 data scientists, analysts and policymakers from across government to share knowledge and best practice. The conference featured over 30 talks covering different aspects of government data science. The body will also host a second Government Data Science Conference in 2018.

In addition to the annual Government Data Science Conference, GDS has been expanding the cross-government data science community by hosting regular show-and-tell events. These events provide the perfect opportunity to bring together data scientists, analysts and policymakers interested in government data science.

The Government Data Science Partnership also aims at enhancing collaboration on the data science career path in government. Indeed, in March, the Digital, Data and Technology (DDaT) profession issued a capability framework for 38 DDaT roles, formulating a common set of roles, skills and career paths that can benefit every government department.

To strengthen data science capability across government, GDS is continuing to run three cohorts of the Data Science Accelerator per year across the five regional hubs. Furthermore, the Government Statistical Service Learning Academy and the ONS Data Science Campus are leading the development of formal training and data science modules such as an MSc in Data Analytics for Government open to all civil servants, and a pilot apprenticeship programme for data analysts.

"We’re planning to enable a range of audiences to understand the data science opportunity to tackle policy problems and to support services." the blog said.

It went on, "For the policy profession, we’re working with Civil Service Learning to deliver a knowledge series on data and better decision making in September……To help operational and service delivery teams to understand how data science can help improve their services, we’ll be adding new data modules to the GDS Academy courses."

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