Voting opens for the People’s Choice Award in the Fourth Analysis in Government (AiG) Awards

Voting is now closed for the People’s Choice Award. The winner will be announced at our Celebration Day event on Monday 19 February 2024.

We have had the decisions of our expert panel of judges across six Analysis in Government (AiG) Award categories…now it’s over to our entire Analysis Function membership to decide on the ultimate winner with the return of our People’s Choice Award! We’re asking our membership to consider one simple question: ‘Which nomination makes you most proud to be a government analyst?’. All nominations that either won their category or achieved a runner up place will be eligible for the People’s Choice Award.

The winner will be announced at the end of the Celebration Day Event on Monday 19 February. The event will take place online and you can register to attend Celebration Day on Eventbrite. We look forward to seeing you at the event.  

If you already know who to vote for, go straight to our People’s Choice Award survey to vote. Please encourage your friends, colleagues, and network to do so too! If you are unsure about who to vote for, read on to discover more about the projects, teams and people eligible for the award. Voting will close at 11:55pm on Thursday 15 February 2024.

Nominations are listed A-Z by project name.

The Digital Content Innovation team within the Office for National Statistics (ONS) developed powerful tools to revolutionise access to census data at a local level. The following resources enabled users to see and understand census data at levels that affected their immediate community:

Census maps has been praised as ‘a remarkable resource, exceptionally well presented’ by Sir Chris Whitty and has been one of the most used products ever made by ONS. These resources have democratised access to complex data and empowered less technical users to make data-driven decisions.

The Crisis Data Liaison Officer (DLO) Network is a cross-government group of 40 crisis, data, and analysis specialists. Members volunteer their time, in addition to their demanding crisis response roles, to identify and improve approaches to sharing data and analysis for the most significant risks facing the UK. The network is the first of its kind in government and is:

  • transforming the way data is brought into the centre for crisis preparedness and response
  • sharing knowledge and best practice between previously disparate teams
  • improving the professionalisation of crisis analysis

The Defra Noise Team, working with Defra’s Digital, Data and Technical Services Team, has built a dynamic geospatial model covering every public road and railway line in England. This is thought to be the world’s first digital twin for environmental noise pollution. This 3-D model operates at sufficient resolution to allow local noise assessments, coupled with the scalable processing capacity to consider national scenarios. Analysis of multiple high-quality datasets from a range of suppliers has been automated meaning updates can occur whenever needed. Public bodies will be able to access and reuse open-standard data without proprietary software or needing to spend taxpayer’s money to duplicate modelling. Customers include:

  • the Department for Transport (DfT)
  • National Highways
  • the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)
  • local authorities
  • the Rail Safety and Standards Board

The data also informs Defra’s 25-year Environment Plan and Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) Public Health Outcome Framework. The model has won awards from the industry trade body and a major stakeholder.

This collaborative work between the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) broke new ground by providing a chatbot interface to enable the White Paper team to quickly and easily interrogate any aspect of the large number of responses to a public Call for Evidence (C4E). The Call for Evidence, in support of the Development White Paper, generated almost 500 responses of up to 10 pages each. This totalled 2,000 pages of text to sift through and pull-out major insights, suggestions and evidence. The team set up access to a secure version of the GPT4 OpenAI Large Language Model through a chatbot interface, that would provide tight answers based on the C4E response data only including links back to the original text. This allowed the team of authors from all technical sectors to use natural language prompts to safely interrogate the full set of responses, which saved time. This also has a strong potential for easy translation to many further use cases.

This work was completed by the Public Services Analysis Team in the Analytical Hub at the Office for National Statistics (ONS)  The creation of the Homes for Ukraine (HfU) Scheme meant new data sources were needed to understand the policy’s impact. The ONS worked closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) and Home Office to fill knowledge gaps, which enabled them to launch a survey, and share findings within weeks. The team were proactive and flexible, satisfying evidence needs as the situation evolved, with further follow up analyses. Analysis helped government understand the impacts on services and supported a new £650 million support scheme. Significant impact was demonstrated through areas including:

  • ‘thank you’ payments
  • cost of living
  • access to private renting
  • rematching with new hosts
  • support for hosts
  • supports for guests beyond hosting

The analysis of the Experiences of Homes for Ukraine scheme sponsors gained wide media coverage, drawing comments for many senior government figures on the performance of the schemes. The National Audit Office (NAO) has also used the analysis in their evaluation. Most importantly, it has supported particularly vulnerable groups, mostly women and children, during the most difficult of experiences.

The Data First Team at the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have been working on this project. Data First is a pioneering data-linking, research, and academic engagement programme. Since 2019, the team have worked with partners across and beyond government boundaries to transform the use of data for innovative research creating powerful policy insights. The team have shared nine linked data assets with academic researchers, creating unique opportunities for analysis that have not been possible before. They have established partnerships with:

  • research funders
  • government agencies
  • academia

To date, Data First has facilitated 40 projects addressing evidence priorities to inform policymaking, such as exploring ethnic disparities in justice outcomes in response to the Lammy Review. Data First has built an outstanding reputation as leading the way across government in the innovative use of data and collaborative ways of working to understand what works to improve justice outcomes.

The Flood Digital Team at the Environment Agency (EA) worked with Hello Lamp Post to pilot and roll out a digital community engagement tool called ‘Hello EA’, to increase community awareness and resilience to flood risk. The innovative tool is used in areas with a low understanding of community perceptions and feedback. It uses mobile phone messaging and natural language chat to facilitate instant, ‘in the moment’ conversations with people in local places. The tool has successfully increased our reach and provided new insights into community understanding and thoughts about flood risk in their local areas, as well as our flood risk schemes and services. The automated data analysis has helped the Environment Agency to:

  • identify public concerns and gaps in public knowledge
  • make evidence based strategic decisions on asset management and engagement plans
  • quickly respond to the needs of local communities to help improve flood resilience

EA teams are now using this tool across the country.

Miriam has made exceptional contributions in the Civil Service. Since joining the newly established Evaluation Task Force in September 2021, she created the Evaluation Academy, which is a ‘train-the-trainer’ model that addresses the skills gap in high-quality evaluations. The Academy has been highly successful, with attendees teaching over 1,100 civil servants in just four months. Motivated by a mission to integrate evaluation into government spending decisions, Miriam’s commitment to building capacity extends to mentoring junior staff and supporting their professional development. In this role she has gone far beyond the day-to-day scope of her role to find ways to achieve that mission. She has also played a crucial role in embedding evaluation into innovation funds.

Miriam’s advocacy for essential evaluations and her expertise in designing evaluation plans have had a significant impact, especially in the education sector. Her forward-thinking approach is evident in her recent endeavours, playing a pivotal role in using AI to develop the Evaluation Registry, which is a searchable website for all evaluations across government. Her dedication to fostering collaboration and knowledge-sharing among analysts is commendable and has had a profound impact on the analytical community.

Adrian Lavery from the Education Authority (EA) Northern Ireland has been working on this project. Last year hundreds of Ukrainian Children arrived in Northern Ireland seeking refuge and needing a school placement. In line with the Education Authority Mission ‘to provide a high-quality education for every child’ and our EA Values of ‘openness, respect, reflection, responsibility, excellent and equality’, we needed to quickly provide a solution to find school places for these vulnerable children. Using our data and making dashboards available we were able to quickly place hundreds of children in safe, secure and appropriate school environments. We were delighted to be able to provide these children with a suitable place quickly to assist in providing them with a stable environment. Data dashboards have supported running digital clinics throughout the province to support parents (from various ethnic backgrounds) with the school admission process, enabling greater focus on what is appropriate for that area in relation to ethnic groups.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) recently published the ONS smoking habits in the UK: 2022 release. Several improvements have been made to communicating these results, including:

  • the creation of an interactive map to display local authority estimates of smoking prevalence
  • a methods article to successfully communicate a complicated methodology adjustment in a non-technical way

This meant the statistics received significant media interest from national television, national press and local press. The results were also used to inform a commitment by the Prime Minister to make the purchase of cigarettes illegal for people born on or after 1 January 2009 to create a smoke free generation.

In his impactful Civil Service career, Steve Chick has consistently inspired innovation in analysis and fosters a creative and dynamic approach for efficiency and accuracy. Across various roles, he has championed professionalism, founded an analytical community at HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), and served as a mentor. Notably, in leading the redesign of HMRC’s Tax Credits audit under the National Audit Office scrutiny, Steve adeptly managed challenges, reducing resource requirements by half. His leadership extended to automating a statistical publication, enhancing efficiency, and creating a positive cycle of improvement. Steve’s advocacy for the Freeports policy showcased strategic foresight, defending team capacity, and ensuring data-supported policy evaluations. His founding of a peer support network underscores his commitment to elevating analytical quality, garnering unanimous praise for his proactive problem-solving and dedication to the Analysis Function’s goals.

Matt Jonas from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has been working on this project. The Building Safety Regulator (BSR) was established to ensure another fire like the one at Grenfell Tower in 2017 never happens again. One of the main aims of the regulator is to ensure vulnerable residents are safe in their homes. Social researchers from HSE conducted two in-depth projects looking into the attitudes, behaviours, and knowledge of disabled, and non-English speaking, residents to ensure their voices were at the centre of the design of BSR. Working with expert advocacy organisations, and directly with residents, the research uncovered many important findings, including the need to ensure residents feel seen and heard by the organisations who manage buildings. This will be a very important part of building trust and ensuring safety. Residents with a range of conditions, including physical, mental, sensory, and neurodevelopmental conditions, were included in the research, as well as residents who spoke various languages, including Cantonese, Bengali, Somali, and Polish.

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 at 11:55pm on Thursday 15 February 2024.