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Getstats – statistical literacy for all

getstats is a campaign to improve how we handle numbers – the practical numbers of daily life, business and policy.

Statistics are tools that turn data into useful information. They give numbers meaning and help to decode complexity. We want to build statistical understanding across society, ensuring that we all get the most out of data.

Why statistics matter

Statistics are powerful. They are persuasive, they summarise key information, and help us to handle uncertainty and risk. We live in a world of data and information. We all need to understand and interpret them well, to make the best decisions.

In professional situations, statistics are used to improve products and processes, lower costs, increase safety, and evaluate effective policies.

“…through statistics we can have a special kind of understanding that enables us to make well-informed decisions:

  1. informing the state in making just laws that we as citizens respect and informing the delivery of the justice that those laws demand;
  2. informing businesses in giving citizens the goods and services that we want at prices we can afford and building a strong economy;
  3. informing individuals and communities in making wise choices for today and for a sustainable future for our children.

Statistics appeals to our rational side, our heads providing a balance to our sometimes wayward hearts. In the data rich world that is emerging as our future, those nations, governments, businesses and individuals who use the power of numbers will prosper. Those who ‘get stats’ will get on. Those who do not will get left behind.” – John Pullinger CBE, President of the Royal Statistical Society, in his 2013 Presidential Address.

Statistical literacy for everyone

Our focus is on working with professions to improve their statistical literacy, including:

  • In Parliament and with policymakers, we are working with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Statistics and many others to raise the profile of statistics and statistical literacy in parliament, to highlight the statistics of important policy issues, and to encourage politicians and policymakers of all sides to improve their skills in handling statistics.
  • We’re working in the civil service, to raise the profile of the profession, to improve skills, and to ensure
  • In the media, we are offering training to journalists and journalism students to improve the reporting of science and health stories, and the RSS offers an award for statistical excellence in journalism to encourage good reporting with statistics.
  • In schools, the RSS seeks to improve statistics education through policy initiatives and responses, and by supporting teachers with practical initiatives and resources.

A range of resources and opinion pieces are freely available on StatsLife, to help you improve your own statistical literacy, or that of those you influence.

The getstats campaign is led by an advisory board chaired by Robert Chote.

The getstats campaign and individual projects have been funded and supported by the Nuffield Foundation, SAS, the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, and many others, to which we are very grateful.

To find out more about the campaign and how to get involved, contact:

Scott Keir
Head of Education and Statistical Literacy
(+44) 020 7614 3929