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The importance of ethics and privacy in producing statistics for the public good

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At a time of exponential growth in data of all kinds, the potential for data science to improve public services and achieve better health outcomes has never been greater. But we also have a responsibility to ensure that those data are used ethically and protect individual privacy. Starting with the UK parliament’s objective for the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to produce and publish statistics for the public good, the latest episode of ‘Statistically Speaking’ explores how this is being delivered in practice, while looking at the safeguards in place to protect personal data, and the public’s changing perception of acceptable data use.

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Using the COVID-19 School Infection Survey to measure the impact of the pandemic on children

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The COVID-19 Schools Infection Survey (SIS) was launched at the start of the 2020-21 academic year, aiming to gain an insight into how the pandemic has affected children’s lives and their education. The first findings from this important study, jointly led by The Office for National Statistics (ONS), London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), and UK Health Security Agency, have now been published. Fiona Dawe  explains the vital role this data plays.

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“We are not the user”: How consultation and continuous improvement drive the ONS website

Creating the best website for every user to easily find what they’re looking for is a challenge for statistical agencies worldwide. From expert analysts looking for obscure datasets to casual visitors seeking quick facts on topical subjects, the ONS website must cater for some wildly different user needs. But as Andy Dudfield explains, those needs continue to shape the site’s evolution. 

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