Weeknotes from Content and Publishing (S1 E5 and 6)

Hello there. I manage the Publishing, Content Design and Digital Content teams at the ONS in Digital Publishing. Each week I’m attempting to give an overview of my work, key projects we’re involved in and encourage my wider team to blog more often about their work. You can find me on Twitter.

It’s a double episode this week – sort of – to make up for an illness-curtailed week a fortnight ago and a shorter week due to half-term.

Last week culminated in a talk at the Presentation and Dissemination symposium in London. The event is a gathering of staff across the Government Statistical Service (GSS) interested in and committed to the improvement of how we produce our outputs for users. My talk focused on the work done to date to improve statistical bulletins and where I see the future challenges for outputs. I hope some people found it useful.

A large part of the reason I was able to speak about this topic is due to the great work being done in Content Design and Publishing to roll out the updated guidance to output editors to improve our bulletins. We’ve now transitioned more than 56 outputs to the new guidance – and as a result bulletins are more consistent, easier to read and easier to find. If you’re interested you can read our guidance as we make it available on Style.ONS.

Last week two colleagues presented on some ambitions I helped shape  around Census outputs – and how we’d like to modernise our approach to delivering analysis to users, based on the work we’ve done over the last 5 years in the Digital Content team. I’m told the ideas were received well – there’s just the small task now of finding some appropriate funding for the work.

The majority of my time beyond this work has been trying to shape some plans that have been taken to the National Statisticians’ Executive Group on the future of publishing in the ONS. It comes as the UK Statistics Authority is finalising the wider strategy for the GSS. It’s a bit like trying to dock a ship in a rotating space station – and from the feedback I’ve had so far I think there’s more work to be done before we can be confident we’ve got a clear path for the future. I’ll share more when I have more.

There are 3 priorities I remain committed to, and the challenge remains finding wider support for them and embedding what it means in the way the organisation works:

  • Recognising and supporting the needs of a broad audience who come to the ONS website or those who would benefit from the value of data from the ONS
  • Using impact metrics which help us understand our success or failures more clearly
  • Commissioning on the basis of clear success measures and a joined up view of how to use digital and digital expertise to reach audiences more effectively

Easy, right?