Having a voice
Through the Society’s work, our members have a voice. Whether it’s representing statistics, addressing legislation, strengthening education, defending statistical integrity, or providing advice to policy makers, our members are able to influence decisions and make a real impact on the role of data and statistics in society.
Members represent statistics across professions and across disciplines. They write for our publications and websites, and talk at professional events, careers events, and at schools. Our voice in the media in particular has grown, and the BBC has strongly acknowledged the help of the RSS in devising new editorial guidelines (in 2017) on reporting statistics.
Members have promoted our Data Manifesto to show political parties the importance of data, statistics and evidence, and the steps they can take to support this. Our support for greater data sharing for statistics and research purposes has influenced legislation, with enactment in 2017 of a new power for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to require information from companies and from charities for statistics.
Our members engage directly in outreach on education and with schools, and advocate effective teaching about statistics and data across the school curriculum. In 2016 we lobbied successfully to retain AS and A-Level Statistics, with a new and improved curriculum, as a post-16 subject for schools to offer. We push for an education system where everyone becomes skilled in handling and interpreting data.
Defending statistical integrity
Statistical literacy is a major focus of our work, and this includes promoting access to basic statistics training for public-facing professions. In 2015, 55 elected MPs (out of 324 interested candidates) signed up to our ‘Parliament Counts’ campaign after approaches from our members. We also speak out in support of the integrity of official statistics and its independence from other government functions: an excellent example of this is our defence of Greece’s former national statistician, Andreas Georgiou.
Providing independent advice
We issue responses to c. 30 consultations per year, engaging in the specifics of the policy debate. Our views on measures of inflation, for example, are leading to the development of a new Household Costs Index by ONS. Our submissions across a wide range of topics (on data in the public interest, official statistics, education, and higher education and research) are free and open to access.
You can read it as it happens in our StatsLife website and newsletter, which features all the latest news about our work. Our events, seminars and webinars are increasingly recorded and shared. We are active on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, where members can connect with us to help share news and views.