Highlights from the third week of Analysis in Government Month 2022
As we come to the end of another week of Analysis in Government Month, we re-cap on some brilliant examples of collaboration:
In our first event of Evaluation day, Rose Geeson, Chief Economist at the Land Registry provided a great introduction to the world of measuring value for money, which was really clearly articulated and graspable for a non-economist. The key points included:
- The aim of measuring value for money is to ensure that we aren’t just choosing the cheapest option in government but we are getting the right outcomes for the investment we are making.
- We were guided through each of the stages of the ROAMEF cycle: Rationale, Objectives, Appraisal, Monitoring, Evaluation and Feedback, with the main focus on the Appraisal stage.
- Rose explained the Disney method which is an approach to structured thinking and ensures we use a range of thinking types to generate options.
- Rose took us through an example of how we might calculate a cost benefit analysis, explaining some of the complexities in doing this and where we may be unable to monetise benefits / where it may not be cost-effective to do so.
- There will likely be many assumptions made in the appraisals, and Rose discussed how we should bring these out explicitly using sensitivity analysis.
- Collaboration is essential here, both in terms of linking up between the different analytical professions and ensuring you take a wholistic perspective to the evaluation.
Next up Dr Carolyne Tah took to the virtual stage, talking through the importance of evaluation to help inform decisions and the work stream she leads as part of the Analysis Function central team:
- Evaluation has never been so important, doing it well is about adapting the approach to each specific policy or programme. Integrating evaluation within the planning processes and involving evaluators early are key to making evaluation work for you
- When used to support planning and implementation of your project, evaluation can help to identify potential risks, provide evidence on effectiveness and provide evidence on the overall impact
- Carolyne demonstrated how evaluation supports all phases of the ROAMEF cycle mentioned in Rose’s talk earlier in the day
- There are three main types of evaluation; process, impact and value for money questions – analysts can help you decide when to use which approach. You need all three approaches for a complete understanding of impact.
- Carolyne dispelled some common evaluation myths such as it might get in the way of actually doing the work – on the contrary, good evaluation makes sure your project is heading in the right direction and delivering what is needed
Accessibility and data visualisation
Always a hugely popular session, and also coinciding with Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2022, Hannah Thomas of the AF Central Team led a session focussed on making data visualisations accessible for all:
- Improving the communication and accessibility of data, statistics and analysis is a priority for the Analysis Function. Hannah talked through why it’s so important to communicate stats and analysis in an accessible way
- Hannah gave a number of examples demonstrating the best (and not so good) ways of presenting data in a chart
- She also talked through how to use our colours guidance to get this right and the importance of using networks of users and colleagues to test accessibility
- The seminar generated many questions in the chat bar that we didn’t have time to get through, so we have published this blog post covering the questions and answers from the session
- The full session is available to watch on the AF YouTube channel (subtitles and captioning will be added soon) and you can explore all of the Data visualisation and accessibility resources on our website
How analysts have improved financial management at the Ministry of Defence (MOD)
We were joined by colleagues Georgia Court, Government Operational Research Service, Zoe Braddick, Government Economic Service and Supratik Chowdhury, Government Statistical Service who demonstrated how this multi-disciplinary team has added real value to the financial management of the MOD since it was set up three years ago.
We are running two blog series threads during the month; ‘Working together’ and ‘My analysis career’, highlighting the power of collaboration and sharing some excellent advice for any analyst interested in progressing your career.
Explore the full series on our dedicated blog page.
The page also features an article by Pauline Beck who hosted Tuesday’s event, ‘The long and winding road…A tale of research collaboration’ with a little help from her friends, Naomi Pohl and Dr Hyojung Sun. A fantastic demonstration of collaboration between government (Intellectual Property Office), academia (Ulster University) and the music industry.
Coming up in the rest of the month