The More We Speak the More Trusted We Become!

September 22, 2022 by No Comments | Category Uncategorized

In my last blog I promised a packed conference that would challenge our thinking when we get back into the office. And boy! Did the organising team manage that? This was evident from the “Flash Talks” and parallel sessions. They really highlighted the breadth and depth of innovative and impactful work that goes on across our community in Scotland.

And Gloria Estefan also taught us an important lesson!

Reading time: 3 mins

Prof Devi Sridhar and Scott Heald

A fireside chat at the official statistics conference between Prof Devi Sridhar and Scott Heald.

Announcing our Community Groups and Leadership

Since I came into post, I set the Statistics and Data Division two tasks to help solve two problems.

  • how do we come back together as a community and

  • how can we improve our training programme for people.

    What we have now announced is a package of support that addresses both, this is our starting point.

    The Leadership Programme, named ‘Fit for the Future’ strengthens our programme of training to support our statisticians. Combined with the induction training and on-going skills training, we want to develop a programme that supports everyone embed continual training and development for our entire careers.

    The Statistical Community Groups also support everyone have a voice in how we operate from the moment they enter our profession. These groups will become the place where we start to practice how we can all be leaders in statistics and use our voices to influence others.

    From Edinburgh to Miami (sound machine)

    I had asked our speakers to consider the challenges they would want to pose to our conference. They did not disappoint! Prof Devi Sridhar made a good case for leading others with simple messages, while Prof. Dame Anne Glover made us think about our external messages and keeping our technical discussions to internal statistical audiences. Prof Mairi Spowage spoke about the benefits of networks and reflected on what makes analysis powerful for different audiences.

    These, and other messages, guided our conversation and sets up activity that we should set our focus on. But one critical takeaway, is knowing that our voices and our messages can have an impact wider than we anticipated. There was no better example than the follow up to Devi and Scott Heald’s conversation. They explored many issues, including tastes in pop music. What followed was unexpected! As one statistician put it on twitter,

    “This ongoing Gloria Estefan & Scottish Official Statistics mashup is the content I didn’t know I needed”

    If our conversations can engage the queen of 80’s Latino pop, who knows where our other engagements may lead us. That is why it is so important for us to have conversations and build our networks. And a final reminder from Dame Anne’s comment to analysts that “the more we speak the more trusted we become”.

    Get out the way!

    The conversations I have had with many of you that attended, has been very positive. I would like to thank the organisers, everyone who spoke and especially to the analysts who came along to listen. One special vote of thanks goes to Anna Scrimgeour. At the last minute, she took part in the panel session. With one phrase she managed to sum up the day. Yes, she feels empowered but had a reminder to all managers to “get out the way!”

    With the Leadership programme and the Statistical Community Groups, this is exactly what we are trying to do. We will provide our managers with the skills to set direction and put in place support and tools for our assistants to get on with the job. The Statistical Community Groups will help us build trust in our systems and give everyone confidence that decisions taken are transparent. Changes we enact will be in full knowledge of the challenges we are addressing.

    They will also help to guide us to speak and be heard more to build more trust in our statistics.

    The Next Steps

    You can still comment on our proposal for the Statistical Community Groups until the end of September. When this period closes, we will present our final proposal to analytical leaders supporting official statistics. We will then quickly move to starting the groups up in October.

    Our Leadership Programme will start too in October, and you can sign up here if you’re interested.

    To respond to our consultation on the ‘Statistical Community Groups’ or to get a link to the quick survey on how you found the conference You can email here for a link to the survey.


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