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People’s Choice Award for the third annual Analysis in Government Awards (AiG Awards)

The first Analysis in Government People’s Choice Award will be announced at our Celebration Day Event on Tuesday 28 February 2023, and it’s up to you who wins. We’re asking you to consider one simple question: “Which nomination inspires you most as a government analyst?”.

If you already know who to vote for, go straight to our People’s Choice Award survey to vote. If not, read on to discover more about the varied, interesting, and important analytical work happening across government.

Nominations are listed A-Z by project name.

Vote for your People’s Choice now

This project was completed by the NHS Quality, Safety, and Investigations Analytical Team at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and other partner organisations.

This year the government published England’s first ever Women’s Health Strategy. The strategy was directly shaped by the results of a multi-faceted call for evidence designed and analysed in collaboration with 15 policy teams across DHSC, six other government departments, arm’s length bodies, a university and external agencies.

The project was a true testament to cross-team and cross-professional working and enabled 100,000 individuals (including minority groups) and over 400 professionals/organisations across the country to have their opinions heard.  By combining social research with modern data science techniques and policy expertise, this has resulted in real-world change for women in England.

This project was completed by cross-organisational team from Digital Health and Care Wales (DHCW), NDR, and Social Care Wales.

The team developed a pioneering learning programme that supports and celebrates the often-forgotten analysts that are pivotal to health and care systems across Wales. The programme has given learners from more than 10 organisations in Wales an opportunity to develop skills and behaviours to equip themselves for the future. It has provided the perfect platform for colleagues to work together and innovate.

The Analytics Learning Programme is growing rapidly. Successive cohorts in 2021 and 2022 have nearly doubled in size. Over 80 learners have engaged with the programme from more than 10 organisations. Besides providing an extensive personal development opportunity, the programme also acts as a platform for building innovative patient-centred solutions, working as teams which cut across organisations, functions and skillsets.

This project was completed by the COVID-19 Analysis, Co-ordination and Evaluation (CACE) Compliance team at HMRC.

HMRC analysts estimated the levels of error and fraud within the COVID-19 support schemes, which collectively paid out nearly £100 billion during the pandemic.

The high quality and timely analysis were influential in the initial design of the schemes and in assessing the risks posed by changes ensuring ministers could take well-informed decisions weighing up error and fraud risks against other objectives. It supported post-payment recovery activities, future policy development and evaluation of the schemes. The team had to use a range of data sources, from large administrative databases to focused qualitative survey data, and work closely with policy and operational colleagues across government as well as external experts, such as The Australian Taxation Office, and the National Audit Office (NAO).

The result of the team’s analysis was influential in the initial design of the schemes and in assessing the risks posed by changes ensuring ministers could take well-informed decisions. The analysis was used to brief Senior Civil Servants for three Public Accounts Committee hearings, and it supported post-payment recovery activities, future policy development and evaluation of the schemes.

This project was completed by the Aviation, Maritime and Borders Analysis team at the Department for Transport (DfT).

There was a pressing need for Other Government Departments, Senior Officials, and wider stakeholders to have reliable short-term passenger demand estimates for international travel in 2021. DfT analysts developed new short-term demand scenarios which were crucial to a wide range of operational decisions across Government. This included procuring hotel quarantine capacity during the Omicron COVID-19 wave, activating multi-million-pound traffic management measures to preserve important trade routes, and disruption response activities following the P&O crisis, including provisions for haulier welfare and public communications. These scenarios were widely used across government and were adapted as policy landscapes rapidly shifted.

The team’s analysis informed proactive decisions on mitigation options for periods such as October half-term and Christmas 2021. It also included Operation Brock, which was a multi-million-pound scheme actively managing freight traffic on over 70 days in 2022. This enabled the response to be co-ordinated, with welfare planning for queuing hauliers, and a clear communication message agreed to publicise the situation and travel updates for customers.

By working with colleagues DfT analysts were able to influence operational decision making across government.

This project was completed by Catherine Hutchinson at the Cabinet Office.

Catherine set up the Evaluation Task Force in April 2021 to improve the way HM Government programmes are evaluated, so that we can know whether programmes should be continued, expanded, modified, or stopped.

In 2019, the Cabinet Office found that only 8% of spend on government major programmes and policies was being evaluated thoroughly.

Through the work of the Evaluation Task Force, Catherine is seeking to change this. Her goal is to apply the methods of evaluation and experimentation that are common in medicine to the £1 trillion that HM Government spends each year on public services.

This project was completed by the GES Operations Team at HM Treasury.

The GES Degree Apprenticeship Programme (GESDAP) is a new entry route into the Government economics profession that promotes diversity and supports social mobility. Only one-third of Government economists are women; the share is even lower among under-graduate economists.

In the latest cohort, more than half of those recruited through the GESDAP route, which is targeted at those without a degree, were women, while 26% of final offers made were to non-white candidates. The quality of work from apprentices has been very high and Chief Economists are justifiably proud of the programme, which also placed in the top 100 in the RateMyApprenticeship Best Employer and Training Providers awards.

This project was completed by Hannah Thomas at the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

When analysis is communicated, it is important that it is accessible to all potential users. If analysis is not accessible, we limit its effectiveness and risk breaking accessibility regulations. Accessibility is a complex topic and Hannah has worked tirelessly to promote accessibility across government, worked with colleagues to improve specific outputs, and build the skills of analysts for a sustainable approach in the future.

Hannah runs monthly accessibility clinics and is also developing a community of passionate advocates for accessibility using an online forum called Basecamp. She has also built a strong presence on social media to champion best practice and bring about change. Hannah has enacted cross-cutting improvements, such as persuading the Government Digital Service (GDS) to adopt the guidance on using colours in charts for all charts published on GOV.UK. Hannah correctly identified that the existing colour-schemes did not meet accessibility regulations and was tenacious in negotiations with GDS. She brought about a step change in the accessibility of the charts which accompany most analytical publications.

Hannah has been instrumental in embedding accessibility and effective communication into the presentation of analysis across government. She has a deep understanding of best practice and the legislative requirements and combines this with a passion to improve how things are done.

This project was completed by the Social Science Team at the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Food safety matters. There are around 2.4 million cases of food-borne illness annually in the UK costing approximately £9 billion. In 2021 the Food Standards Agency (FSA) developed “Kitchen Life 2”, a project that installs motion-sensitive cameras in kitchens to observe real life behaviour, in other words, cooking, cleaning, and eating. Using a range of supplementary research techniques including surveys, interviews, and food diaries, findings are mapping to the COM-B behavioural framework to understand the rationale for behaviour and explore the “Say/Do Gap”.

100 kitchens were recruited and filmed. Using Lifestream’s Artificial intelligence and human-powered video analytics, the team tagged behaviours like ‘handwashing’ and ‘cleaning knives’, and contexts such as ‘food type’, ‘utensil’ and ‘chopping board’ into a searchable platform. Passive data was collected on things like fridge and freezer temperature. Food Diaries ensured we understood what people cook and when and helped to collect photos of fridges and receipts. A deep dive into behaviours of interest explored the understanding of food hygiene and practices.

The project, which is still live, is providing fresh insight for the FSA’s risk assessment, policy development and behavioural intervention design.

This project was completed by Lynn O’Donnell at the Ministry of Defence (MOD).

Lynn is the lead for the PRISM Employee Support Network, supporting LGBT+ colleagues across MoD. She has been proactive in championing LGBT+ rights and:

  • educates line managers
  • supports colleagues
  • advises our Executive Management Committee, including the Chief Executive
  • promotes stories of LGBT+ people in science
  • supports and reviews new HR policies
  • works with the other employee support networks in Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
  • networks with LGBT+ employee support networks across the other parts of MOD and the civil service
  • sits on the Pride in Defence committee

This project was completed by the Data Science Campus Levelling Up Squad at the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

To help inform contingency planning for potential rail service disruptions, the team were asked to help policy makers from Cabinet Office (CO) visualise the effects of these events on train services at every station across Great Britain.

Adapting complex data, the team produced daily interactive maps that showed service levels at every station in Great Britain, using an existing daily feed of open timetable data from Rail Delivery Group that gives departure and arrival times for every train running. This was presented as an interactive map visualisation which shows the number of scheduled services as a proportion of the timetabled services.

The work was produced with a very rapid turnaround of approximately two weeks from the original ask. This meant that SitCen had enough time for the visualisations to be available for the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The blog and interactives were well received publicly, and the code to ingest the data has now been shared with other government departments including the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) for use in other project work.

This project was completed by the Demographic Statistics and Vital Events team at the National Records of Scotland (NRS).

Statisticians from National Records Scotland have worked together on the production of a two-part BBC Scotland documentary called “Who lives in Scotland?”. The team worked with producers to determine the tone and accuracy of the broadcast and highlight the importance of analysis in informing decisions related to everyday life.

The team spent six months working with programme producers. They identified important stories on this subject, the statistics that underpin them, and the best ways to present and explain them to a general audience. They also worked with visualisation experts to ensure all visuals were accessible to everyone and complemented the narrative.

The documentary has been very successful and helped develop stronger links with the media and trust in analysis. The programme was aired during Prime Time on BBC Scotland and was the most-watched show at 9pm on 24 October 2022.

How to vote

This is your opportunity to have your say. You can vote by completing our online form and selecting the nomination you think should win. Voting will close on Friday 24 February 2023.

Vote now and encourage your friends, colleagues, and network to do so too!