What does this career entail?
You can enter the Government Statistical Service in several different ways and there are many different career paths. You could find yourself in an organisation that is primarily concerned with data collection for example the Office for National Statistics which not only conducts the population census but also carries out several regular social or business surveys from which many key governmental statistical outputs are derived. Or you may find yourself in a Department, advising Ministers and policy making staff on options for change or monitoring current performance. You may be conducting statistical surveys or perhaps your data are derived from administrative sources such as tax, benefit or personnel records. Whichever environment you are working in, you are likely to be working in multi-disciplinary teams with IT specialists, economists, social researchers and administrators. Wherever you start out, there are plenty of opportunities to move between departments and plenty of different types of job see the person profile.
Much of the work of government statisticians is concerned with finding suitable data to underpin analyses and ensuring that the information obtained is fit for purpose. For statistical surveys this could mean effective sample design, monitoring response rates and checking for possible biases. For data derived from administrative sources, there is a need to ensure consistency of approach, implement robust data validation processes and maintain consistent means of supply. Statisticians must then identify appropriate techniques for the analysis of the data collected, decide on publication strategies and work with others to take forward the agreed programme.
Many official statistics are now published as part of the National Statistics programme and particular policies are in force to ensure the independence and quality of these outputs. Details of the range of outputs that form part of the National Statistics programme are available on the National Statistics website.