Hello. My name’s Richard Moss, Head of the Digital Data Academy in Shipley. I introduced the work of the new Academy in a recent blog post and said I’d come back to let you know how we got on with our first Data event. So here I am...
It felt like a really full and worthwhile day, with some excellent speakers, lively discussions and thought-provoking debate. Colleagues and stakeholders from across HMRC came together to explore how the data, that we have a wealth of understanding about, can be applied in novel ways to ultimately improve the services and experience we provide to our customers.
“The digital revolution is being driven by the unprecedented growth of data”
The first speaker of the day, Elaine Benn, responsible for driving a customer-centric approach across HMRC, opened the debate with her striking line “The digital revolution is being driven by the unprecedented growth of data”. The more we digitise our services, the more data we get. This really set the tone for the day. With trillions of gigabytes of information, how do we make the most of it and use it to gain knowledge and wisdom? Elaine underlined the importance of rigorous data analysis to be able to make critical decisions with the utmost clarity, something that HMRC’s dedicated knowledge and analytics function (Knowledge, Analysis and Intelligence Directorate) has been carrying out since the start of the digital revolution in HMRC.
Our next speaker, Pardip Bans from HMRC’s Customer Strategy and Tax Design function, was on hand to really underline the challenges and issues we face, balancing the potential insights contained within the data we have with the absolute need to be secure and safe with people’s information.
Breakout sessions during the day included discussions on the data tools and environments we use across HMRC and better understanding the customer journey. This was a chance for attendees to really focus on an area that was of particular interest to them. In these sessions, the Digital Data Academy shared results from research projects being run within the group, and as part of our work with other areas of HMRC.
Data Analytics Training and Data Analysis Techniques
We also ran two sessions on Data Analytics Training and Data Analysis Techniques. This gave our statisticians a chance to demonstrate how various statistical and data-driven methods of analysis from academic research are being tested for wider use within HMRC and across government. John Burton and Sarah Keast, the DDA Skills & Capability leads, shared their experiences on how to teach these methods as part of their careers. This triggered a lot of interest and some great networking.
We discussed how the use of data has been employed across government to produce results. Jonathan Carter, Senior Information Analyst at NHS Digital, showed us how they are presenting and disseminating results to their clients, the challenges they face, and how these can be overcome with some innovative thinking. From simplifying the data streams, to determining the most appropriate method for displaying data and enabling customers to easily find the information they are interested in, this really inspired some great ideas for me and for the audience as a whole.
Dr. Matthew Upson from the Digital Cabinet Office was our final speaker, showing us his work on Reproducible Analytical Pipelines. From semi-automation and streamlining, Matthew told us that statistical publication time had reduced by 75%, realising a definite need to use resources more efficiently and intelligently in this environment of huge data growth.
We finished the day off with a Q&A session with all our speakers. Some keen insights were given into the potential shape and development of our data and analytics approach - a perfect end to the day, without a doubt.
I’d like to thank all our speakers and the people who attended from across HMRC’s data community. We identified exciting areas ready to be explored further in the coming months, such as building the analytical community, and exploring the way in which HMRC employees are learning the data-oriented skills necessary for their jobs. I for one can’t wait to see what’s going to develop in the future as a result of this event, and I’ll be blogging again to tell you how we’re getting on.
Richard Moss, Head of Digital Data Academy, Shipley
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