Science & Technology Committee: Written evidence ... - Parliament UK

Dec 14, 2011 - UK census tract data are an invaluable source in facilitating understanding of ...... Joshi, H. E. and Owen, S. J. (1987) How Long is a Piece of Elastic? ...... Census has become a principal element of the entire data 'warehouse'.
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Science & Technology Committee: Written evidence The Census and social science This volume contains the written evidence accepted by the Science & Technology Committee for the Census and social science inquiry. No.




00 01 02 03 04

HM Treasury Julie Selwyn Dr Eldin Fahmy Professor Ceri Peach Emeritus Dr Peter King

05 06

C J Morris ESRC International Centre for Life Course Studies in Society & Health John Stillwell and Oliver Duke-Williams

29 30 31 32 33 33a 34 35

The British Library Royal Statistical Society British Academy The Association of Business Schools Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) Supplementary Institute for Jewish Policy Research Suffolk County Council

36 36a 37 38 39 40 41

Office for National Statistics Supplementary The Salvation Army Joseph Rowntree Foundation Professor Les Mayhew Equality Commission for Northern Ireland Local Government Association

07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

David Owen TNS-BMRB Professor Heather Joshi Mike Hogan Raj Bhopal David Truswell Dr Julie Fish TWRI Policy and Research Dr James Kirkbride The Institute for Fiscal Studies Dr Stephen Patterson Professor Edward Higgs Centre for Longitudinal Study Information and User Support, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine 21 Dr Nicola Shelton 22 British Society for Population Studies 23 Dr Jennifer Mindell 24 NatCen 25 Tees Valley Unlimited 26 ESRC 26a Supplementary 27 CURDS 28 Welsh Language Board As at 18 January 2012

Written evidence submitted by HM Treasury (Census 00)

The Analytical Community There is an analytical community within government to support those involved in strategy, policy and delivery to develop and use an evidence base. Government analysts contribute to all stages of policy development and implementation though helping to: • • • • • • • • • •

identify issues understand and solve problems present options assess impacts (costs, benefits and risks) interpret existing data specify and gather new evidence test and assess ideas translate research into practical options inform decisions on difficult trade-offs inform decisions on whether to stop, continue or change a policy.

As well as using their own knowledge and skills, government analysts draw on appropriate external expertise, from the academic and broader research community both in the UK and overseas. They can advise on the quality of available external evidence and the confidence that should be given to it in decision-making. Analysts are organised differently in different departments, but generally there are five different groups. Members of each discipline have a unique contribution to make as well as shared skills across the disciplines. At a very high level, the particular contribution can be characterised by: •

Economists (members of the Government Economic Service). Maximising welfare from scarce resources. Microeconomics by providing decision metrics for choosing one option or course of action over another; macroeconomics by fostering prosperity, high employment and stability economy-wide.

Operational Researchers (members of the Government Operational Research Service). Helps people find solutions to complex problems through problem structuring and mathematical and statistical modelling to understand real-world systems, policy options and impact

Social Researchers (members of the Government Social Research Service). Understanding the potential and actual social impacts of policy decisions/practice, including understanding public perceptions and the opportunities for behaviour change. Advising across government on research methodologies and ethics.


Statisticians (members of the Government Statistical Service). Ongoing measurement and monitoring of specific and general economic and social trends.