The getstats campaign aims to improve how we handle numbers – the practical numbers of daily life, business and policy.
Statistics are tools that turn data into useful information and help us to make better and well-informed decisions. As the supply of data increases, statistical understanding becomes more and more useful, in parliament as among the public at large.
To this end, RSS-getstats has - with the support of the House of Commons Library and the All Party Parliamentary Group - been running a programme of seminars for peers, MPs and their staff, helping them to make the most of data in their work. getstats in parliament seminars to date have focused on issues relevant to the work of parliament, most recently health, sport and – coming soon – crime and education.
In his blog today, Mark Easton, getstats campaign Board member comments on a survey of parliamentarians which the campaign commissioned in late 2011. The survey’s findings forms part of a wider and on-going look at the statistical needs and interests of parliamentarians and into how data and statistical know-how impacts on parliament’s work both as a legislature and in holding executive government accountable.
Parliamentarians may not have come through the survey with flying colours (although they fared better than the general public in our 2010 survey of wider public audiences which asked the same questions )…however, the good news is that the getstats programme in parliament continues to work with MPs, their staff and researchers to raise the importance of statistics; a dedicated training and capacity building programme will start next month.